£500m investment earmarked for Belfast's linen quarter as part of tourism initiative

Pictured at the launch of Belfast’s Central Business District is Paul Johnson Chair of CBD, Chris McCracken, managing director of CBD and Dr Howard Hastings , managing director of Hastings Hotels and chair of Visit Belfast.
Gareth McKeown

HALF a billion pounds of investment has been earmarked for the historic Linen Quarter of Belfast as part of a new collaborative tourism initiative.

Belfast's Central Business District (CBD) launched this week and has been created to encourage regeneration and investment into the key commercial area.

The CBD opened with a business breakfast in the Grand Opera House – announcing seven priority projects over the coming months with the aim of making a tangible difference for everyone who works, lives in or visits the district.

Managing director of CBD, Chris McCracken said he is excited to see the initiative finally come to fruition.

"The story of decline in Great Victoria Street and the wider area has been reversed and over the next five years the district will be transformed. For example, the £200m investment in Great Victoria Street station will make an incredible new gateway into the city.”

"In terms of quick wins, we plan to deliver seven priority projects for the area in the next six months, including additional policing and a bespoke clean team. We will also create new events for everyone to enjoy, including street animation and promotions for food, hospitality and music," he added.

In addition to hotel investment and the Transport Hub, several other important projects have been announced for the CBD area. This includes significant new office developments at Ewarts Warehouse and One Bankmore Square; while the BBC has announced the redevelopment of the Ormeau Avenue Headquarters and Blackstaff Studios at a cost of £77m.

Dr Howard Hastings, managing director of Hastings Hotels, was the guest speaker at the CBD launch and focused on the incredible growth of tourism in the CBD area, with approximately £128m invested in new and refurbished hotels, including the Grand Central Hotel, due to open in June.With 15 hotels the Linen Quarter has by far the greatest concentration of hotels in Belfast and the north.

“Belfast is really asserting itself as a tourist destination for business, leisure and cruise visitors; and the Belfast Central Business District is integral to that success and the wider regeneration of the city.”

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