Details of £30 million scheme to transform a Belfast office block into a 200-room hotel have been unveiled.

Hastings Hotels purchased Windsor House, one of the tallest buildings in Ireland, last month.

The company aims to convert the building into the Belfast Grand Central Hotel with a planned opening in 2018.

The plan, subject to planning permission, will create more than 150 jobs.

Company chairman, Sir William Hastings, said: “We are delighted to unveil the plans for what will be the seventh hotel in our portfolio in Northern Ireland.

“This acquisition represents our biggest single investment to date of £30 million and upon completion in 2018 the hotel will operate at the upper end of the four-star market offering 200 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, 18 serviced apartments and a range of superbly appointed office accommodation. The hotel will create over 150 new jobs.”

“It will bring the number of bedrooms in our group to over 1,000 making us the largest privately owned hotel chain on the island of Ireland.”

He added: “The Belfast Grand Central Hotel will fulfil the requirement for much needed city centre accommodation in Belfast.

“Tourism in Northern Ireland continues to thrive and it is the ideal time to extend our portfolio of hotels with more high profile events coming to the city as well as an increase in business tourism which will be helped by the expansion of the Belfast Waterfront next year.”

Belfast mayor, Arder Carson, said: “This is great news for the city. One of our major objectives is to double the current tourism revenue by 2020 and developments such as this one by the Hastings Hotels Group are a huge step forward towards achieving that goal.”

Northern Ireland enterprise, trade and investment ministerm Jonathan Bell, said: “This is great news for Belfast and for Northern Ireland, as the group’s continued investment is a massive vote of confidence in our tourism sector.

“The new hotel will add considerably to the local accommodation offering and allow Northern Ireland to capitalise further on the growing international business conference market.”