New Hilton hotel to crown pounds 17m Belfast development

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The Independent Online
HILTON International is checking into Belfast's hotel industry, which was one of the prime targets of the IRA's bombing campaign, writes John Shepherd.

Ladbroke Group, the UK owner of Hilton International, yesterday signed a deal to build a 187-room, luxury hotel on the banks of the river Lagan in the city centre. The company will have a 60 per cent share of the development. The other partner is Ewart, a property development and investment company.

Guests should be able to check into the Belfast Hilton in late 1996. A spokesman for Ladbroke said the changing political climate had influenced its move. 'There were clear signs that things were going to happen and get better, and we became prepared to put money into a hotel.'

The recent ceasefire declaration 'gave a degree of additional comfort', he added. The hotel forms part of a pounds 17m redevelopment of Laganbank.

Political trouble spots and terrorism are not new to Ladbroke. Early last year a massive car bomb exploded in the basement of its New York Vista hotel. The group also recently had to temporarily bow-out of a contract to run a hotel in Algiers due to fundamentalist activity.