Budget chain easyHotel is to establish its first property in Northern Ireland.

Office space and a dry cleaners in Howard Street, Belfast is be converted into an 81-room hotel and ground floor café in a £3 million franchise deal.

The hotel will be located above three restaurants owned by chef Michael Deane within walking distance of Belfast City Hall, the waterfront, the city’s shopping district and Cathedral Quarter.

The hotel is expected to open in early 2018 and will create around 30 jobs.

The latest franchise agreement brings easyHotel’s total committed development projects to 1,833 rooms, 801 of which are owned and 1,032 are being developed by franchise partners.

The company announced the development of a new franchise hotel in Reading in November and the acquisition of owned development sites in Sheffield and Leeds last month.

Chief executive Guy Parsons said: “We are delighted to announce our first hotel in Northern Ireland as a continuation of our strategy announced in September.

“Belfast has benefitted from extensive investment in urban regeneration and is a key business and tourist destination. Belfast’s Waterfront venue is recognised as a world leading conference and exhibition centre and the city has become a preferred location for both national and international events.”