Larne’s Highways Hotel on market for £550,000

The Highways Hotel. INLT 36-409-PR
The Highways Hotel. INLT 36-409-PR

The former Highways Hotel in Larne has been put on the market again for offers of over £550,000.

The site, at Ballyloran, was previously owned by the Magill family, who ran the facility for 23 years as a popular local hotel.

The Magills sold the hotel in 1995, and two years ago the site was sold again at auction to a private individual, raising hopes it could be turned into a care home facility.

However, with no refurbishment work being carried out since the last sale, the hotel has now been placed back on the market with commercial property consultants Osborne King.

The firm’s Director Mark Carron told the Times that he had already received interest in the property from developers and licensed parties.

He said the site could be used for either commercial or residential use, pending planning permission.

“It could have a number of different uses,” he revealed.

“The property hasn’t had anything done to it or been refurbished

“The building is reasonably air and water tight but it has been closed for five years so anyone looking to operate it as a hotel would have to refurbish it .

“It remains a big property with 30 plus bedrooms and it’s a good three star opportunity.

“It might suit a care home as it’s on a prominent, elevated site.

“The market has moved on since 2013, when it was last sold, and it could be opened as a hotel or development.”

Mr Carron said that the recent completion of the A8 would help to serve the new facility.

He added that the site would “ideally” be sold as a whole but that but that the seller “would consider all options.”

Prom Cafe owner Louise Magill, whose father Crawford bought the hotel at the roadside from milkman Samuel Lorimer in 1972, said that she would welcome the derelict site being turned into a facility which is of use to the local community.

“Dad made such a success of it and he ran it well, it was the venue for weddings, funerals, christenings and community events,” she recalled.

“At that time the Troubles were on and there weren’t as many hotels in Belfast so a lot of people came from far and wide to stay at The Highways, it had a good reputation.

“My Dad was a great man for hospitality and he was known as the “man with the rose,” as he always wore one in his buttonhole.”

While the hotel proved to be a success, the Magill family were forced to live in caravans at the outset as Crawford had to sell the family home to pay for the hotel’s refurbishment.

“Dad was 45 when he bought it and it was a big risk, but he was an entrepreneur,” she explained.

“I lived in one caravan with my Mum and Dad outside the hotel and my brothers lived in another.

“I then lived in the hotel for five years as Dad couldn’t afford a house and we have lots of great memories.

“There was some good craic had there and it was a big employer with 62 staff at one point.”

Crawford sold the hotel at the age of 72 after more than two decades at its helm.

Now aged 92 and suffering from dementia, Louise says that her father would be “disappointed” at the state of the Highways site.

“It’s derelict and an eyesore,” she stated.

“I would like to see it as a hotel, nursing home or even a dementia hospice or nursing home in Dad’s honour.

“My Dad always called the Highways his nice house and it would be nice to see it restored to its former glory”