Potential developments at Drumnagreagh

The Drumnagreagh Hotel blaze in 2009
The Drumnagreagh Hotel blaze in 2009

A ‘ghost’ hotel on the Coast Road between Larne and Glenarm may be in line for a return to former hospitality glory - or even a housing development.

The site of the Drumnagreagh Hotel has become a landmark on the road - for all the wrong reasons.

But, in one potential scenario, its empty, fire ravaged shell could be restored if developers respond to a plea from the current owner for help in transforming the bulding.

The Drumnagreagh Hotel was almost entirely gutted by fire in 2009. The blaze hit the headlines with firecrews from across Co. Antrim called in to battle the inferno which took around 12 hours to extinguish.

The Larne Times reported the sheer scale of the blaze in its March 11 edition of 2009: “The fire started in the early hours of Friday, quickly engulfing around half the two-storey building. Around 50 firemen arrived at the scene shortly before 2.00am, according to the Fire Service.

“Low water pressure in the area meant fire crews had to draw water from the sea and a nearby river. High volume pumps and aerial appliances were needed to bring the blaze under control.”

Now, Gavin Weir, from GVA NI property consultants, who are representing the owner, says a number of possible development avenues are open for exploration.

He said: “The site was sold during the downturn to a locally-based private investor who liked the location. He is now going to do something more proactive. The aim is to get planning consent and try and develop the site. He has had a number of approaches previously, some of them leisure related, some of them healthcare related and a lot of people looking at it as a residential site. It would be suitable for all three.

“The investor has decided to invite some expressions of interest and then either develop it with them or possibly sell the site - but he is open to a variety of options.

“It is a unique site, just off the Coast Road, so it is hard to gauge what sort of quirky uses could be done with it.”

The current owner acquired the site shortly after the devastating fire but it has gradually deteriorated.

Mr Weir added: “I’m not saying someone is going to build a grand hotel again, but there maybe something built, like a restaurant or a coffee shop. Because it was such a substantial building there are quite a few commercial uses for it from a planning point of view.”

The property has been advertised as a “unique coastal residential or commercial development opportunity.