First Trust branch on Ormeau Road sold for close to £1m

The former First Trust Bank on the Upper Ormeau Road has been sold for ""well in excess of £750,000".Picture by Mal McCann
Gareth McKeown

THE former First Trust Bank branch on Belfast's Upper Ormeau Road has been sold for close to £1 million.

The Irish News can reveal that the two storey end-terrace building has been sold to hospitality industry stalwart Pat McCormack, who previously owned popular city nightspot Café Vaudeville.

The deal was completed on Friday past and is "well in excess of £750,000", according to property consultants Lambert Smith Hampton, who handled the sale.

The 2,268 sq ft former bank had initially been listed online with a guide price of £350,000 and has been on the market since First Trust closed 15 branches across the north last year.

Although unconfirmed by the developer, it is understood the existing building is to be demolished and, subject to planning approval, is set to make way for a new mixed-use development, with the ground floor encompassing commercial and the upper level residential.

This could pave the way for yet more additions to the growing restaurant and café culture developing on the Ormeau Road.

In January independent pizzeria chain Greens announced it is to open a third Belfast restaurant at the former home of McCormick's grocery store, while last year hospitality group Tullymore House, owners of the Galgorm Resort and Spa, acquired the derelict former Holy Rosary church and announced plans to spend £1 million turning it into a new Fratelli's restaurant.

The First Trust outlet on the Ormeau Road closed its doors in June last year as part of the bank's strategic closure of 15 branches across the north.

In February last year the bank announced plans to cull half its branches before the end of August, citing the “sizeable” customer shift to digital banking. Since then a sizeable number of the properties have been placed on the market for sale.

The agreed purchase of the Ormeau Road premises comes just a week after it was reported the former First Trust Bank in Armagh has also changed hands.

The building, located on the corner of Lower English Street and Abbey Street, had been vacant since the branch's closure in July and on the market for offers in the region of £150,000.

According to online publication Armagh I, Maison Estate Agents, which operates in both Armagh and Dungannon, will move into the the building, with parent company, Jercia Limited heading up the purchase.

The four-storey former High Street branch in Belfast city centre is among those to remain on the market, with offers sought in the region of £2 million.

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