Ballymena hotel announces £1.6 million restoration project supported by Invest NI

Eugene and Catherine McKeever owners of the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena and Invest NI’s Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton who visited the hotel recently to view the progress on its £1.6 million restoration project aimed at increasing business from international markets.

The Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena is investing £1.6 million with support from Invest Northern Ireland towards a restoration project aimed at increasing business from international markets.

The three-star hotel was built originally in 1846 and attracts a range of business and leisure customers from America, mainland Europe, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.

Invest NI offered the Adair Arms Hotel £130,000 to help it enhance its overall offering and attract more international visitors by repositioning the hotel in key target markets. The project is due to be completed by spring 2012 and will create eight new jobs at the hotel across a variety of roles over the next three years.

Upgrading the hotel’s facilities and services will enable the Adair Arms to sustain business growth and take advantage of the increase in demand for accommodation which is expected to coincide with 2012 key signature projects such as Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Visitor Centre opening and also Londonderry’s year as the UK City of Culture 2013.

As part of the total redevelopment works, the Adair Arms will be extensively remodelling its bedrooms and conference rooms as well as refurbishing its restaurant and bar facilities. A three-storey extension will also be built, incorporating modern lift facilities and a new entrance and reception area

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, said: “This strategic investment will enable the Adair Arms Hotel to maximise its potential and achieve effective growth.

“In repositioning this historic hotel the owners plan to generate additional bookings from people travelling to Northern Ireland on business as well as from international tourists visiting the popular historic and cultural attractions around the Glens of Antrim area and Causeway coast.

“The redevelopment project will inject new money into the economy, generating work for local tradesmen during the construction phase and creating valuable employment opportunities in the hospitality sector. Today’s announcement is the latest sign of Invest NI’s commitment to supporting economic development in the North East, a commitment which has led to some £115m investment and the creation of almost 700 jobs in the region in recent years.”

Eugene McKeever, Managing Director of the McKeever Hotel Group which owns the Adair Arms Hotel, said: “Undertaking this redevelopment project with support from Invest NI is an important part of our plan to secure the future success of the business.

“Modernising the hotel’s interior while at the same time preserving its unique period character will enhance our overall attractiveness to potential international visitors. We aim to continue to boost awareness of the hotel among overseas visitors and proactively market our business to a wide range of groups including those who are participating in activity holidays and coach tours.”