The Belfast building where Titanic was designed is to be turned into a hotel.
Early in the last century, the Harland and Wolff headquarters and drawing offices on Queen’s Island, Belfast, was the control center for one of the largest shipyards in the world, the Irish Mirror reports. Over 1,000 shops, including the White Star Olympic Class Liners, were created and designed at the headquarters.
During the time the Titanic was built, the shipbuilding industry was at its zenith. In its heyday, Harland and Wolf employed thousands of men and the shipyard covered nearly 300 acres.
However, shipbuilding industry declined in the 1950s and the headquarters building has remained vacant since 1989.
The empty building will now be transformed into an 84-bedroom, four-star hotel using a €6.5million ($7.4m) Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant, awarded through HLF's Heritage Enterprise program.
Kerrie Sweeney, chief executive of the educational charity the Titanic Foundation, said: "With HLF's support we will safeguard the drawing offices for future generations and unlock the commercial potential of the entire building as a boutique hotel with heritage at its core.
"This is a truly unique and authentic project for Belfast that could not have happened without the support from Heritage Enterprise Scheme."
The grant will focus on developing the two drawing offices as spaces for public use, while the hotel will tell the story of Belfast’s industrial heritage, focusing on the authentic spaces and fixtures and fittings related to the local shipbuilding industry. The restoration of the building has the potential to create more than 100 jobs in the area.
Paul Mullan, head of HLF Northern Ireland, said: "This is an exciting project that will see one of Belfast's most historic buildings reborn as a major tourist destination.
"This, like many of the city's historic buildings, has incredible potential to act as a driver of regeneration and economic growth."