Business

First-phase of £400m Belfast Sirocco scheme could be complete in 2019

The plans for the £400 million redevelopment of the former Sirocco site in east Belfast
Gareth McKeown

A £50 million office and residential scheme has been unveiled as part of ambitious plans to transform the former Sirocco site in east Belfast.

The new proposals for the Belfast Waterside project, form part of a wider £400m regeneration project at the 16-acre site, which could create as many as 5,500 jobs, 750 homes and almost 80,000 square metres of contemporary office space. Further plans for the derelict east bank site include a pedestrian footbridge, new leisure and public spaces as well as a hotel, restaurants, cafés and retail space.

The first phase of the extensive scheme has now moved a step forward after plans for a 25,000 square metre Grade A office building were unveiled by developers Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd. If approved, the project is set to be delivered in 2019 and would go some way towards addressing the lack of Grade A office space in the city.

The proposals have been released alongside a revised site masterplan, which developers hope will allow for greater connectivity with Belfast city centre. Detailed plans for residential development are due to be announced early next year.

James Osborne, one of the joint owners, said the proposed office development is the first step in delivering a new "high-quality city-centre destination" in which which people will live, work and socialise.

“This first-phase £50m office scheme will set a new benchmark for office space suitable for corporate occupiers. This initial building is an important part of our wider vision to deliver the highest quality office and residential spaces in the city."

“Belfast Waterside is an important site for the regeneration and growth of the city. It will create construction jobs, and modern workspaces for around 11.5 per cent of the 46,000 new jobs that Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035. Following our extensive consultation with the city, statutory and community consultees, we are delighted to be taking the first step with this office proposal, alongside our revised masterplan," Mr Osborne added.

Internationally renowned Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen has been brought on-board to renew the masterplan and director Henning Larsen believes the proposals present the opportunity to create a "new piece of Belfast".

"The new plans respond to the feedback received and we believe these plans will create a fantastic addition to Belfast and make a significant contribution to the city's ambitious targets for homes, growth and investment.”

Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd will now undertake a minimum 12 weeks of pre-application community consultation, including four public exhibitions, before submitting new planning applications to Belfast City Council. The former industrial site, now derelict brownfield, was purchased by Swinford in August 2016, with completion in January . The first public consultation event is to take place on December 4 at the Short Strand Community Centre and another the following day at the Mount Business and Conference Centre. The Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road will then host a consultation event on December 7, before the programme is concluded at the Hilton Hotel, Lanyon Place on December 8.

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