Business

Plans unveiled for new multi-million pound Belfast development

A concept image of what the mixed-use development in Belfast city centre might look like

PLANS have been unveiled for a new multi-million office development in Belfast city centre.

A consultation has been launched for a mixed-used project at a site close to Smithfield Market. The proposal, which covers a one and a quarter acre site between Gresham Street and Winetavern Street includes provision for first class office space as well as new units for independent businesses and retailers. The site is currently being used as a car park.

The 235,000 sq ft scheme is anchored by a 115,000 sq ft main office building. It also features new pedestrian access into Gresham Street and Winetavern Street as well as additional landscaped public areas.

If the plans are approved, up to 650 construction jobs would be created during the construction phase of the project and once complete the proposed office accommodation would cater for up to 1,500 people.

Bywater Properties and Ashmour Developments are behind the scheme, with FCB Studios responsible for the design and collectively they hope to regenerate an underutilised part of the city centre.

“Smithfield was historically a thriving hub of trade in Belfast and our plans aim to make it a trading heart in the city once again," Ashley Stewart from Ashmour said.

"We respect the city’s heritage and culture and we want to preserve Smithfield’s character and the life that’s already there while investing to rejuvenate an area that has suffered from chronic under investment for many years.”

Outline proposals for the regeneration scheme include a mix of contemporary office spaces, co-working space and workshops for small, local businesses, as well as significant improvements to the current public realm.

Patrick O’Gorman from Bywater Properties said local independent traders are at the heart of the plans and the aim is not to attract multi-national chains.

“We want to reinvigorate this part of the city into a vibrant, interconnected neighbourhood where independent retailers, coffee shops and local family businesses sit side by side with big international employers and their millennial workforce.”

“There’s no room for bland grey offices in our rejuvenated Smithfield area. This is a new, inclusive way of doing business. It is a fresh model of development that aims to encourage innovative ways of working and which is driven by creativity, collaboration and diversity," he added.

Bywater and Ashmour are refurbishing the listed former butcher’s building on the corner of Gresham Street and North Street to use as its consultation headquarters. They plan to hold a community consultation in the building in September, with further details available at: buildingblocksbelfast.com

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