KFC tycoon behind proposed new Belfast city centre apartment development

Kirk Bryson and Co has submitted an application for a residential development at Westgate House on Queen Street
Gareth McKeown

BELFAST property developer, Michael Herbert is behind plans for a new multi-million pound apartment development in the city centre.

Kirk Bryson and Co, a firm spearheaded by Mr Herbert, has submitted an application for development at Westgate House on Queen Street.

The submission comes after plans for a residential scheme were shared with residents at a public consultation event in March last year.

The latest plans if approved, would see the demolition of the four-storey office building to pave the way for the construction of 54 apartments, as well as a retail unit on the ground floor.

The application for development was received by Belfast City Council last month and will likely come before the planning committee later this year.

In addition to 10,000 sq ft of office space on the upper floors, Westgate House is currently home to two retail units, one of which is occupied by Shopmobility.

The site of Westgate House was previously occupied by the Working Men's Instituite from 1870 to 1915. In more recent times it was in the ownership of Leisureworld Toys & Hobbies Ltd from the early 1980s until 2008.

Kirk Bryson & Co acquired the site two years ago for an undisclosed sum. At the time the site had been listed for sale with a maximum reserve of £750,000.

In August 2017 the group submitted a change of use application for the former dry cleaners on Queen Street to hot food/restaurant use.

One of the north's richest men, Michael Herbert controls the largest KFC franchise in central Europe, with the portfolio stretching to over 150 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Meanwhile it has been reported that two UK tech firms are to open offices in the newly-refurbished Moneda House in Belfast city centre.

CYTI and Firemelon, both owned by David Corney, will take on the fourth and fifth floors at the Wellington Place office block, according to Ulster Business.

CYTI's technology is used by the online insurance comparison market, while Firemelon develops and manages solutions to process insurance policies and claims.

In May global coffee brand Starbucks became the first tenant to set up at the redeveloped Moneda House. The office block was refurbished last year by Tyrone-based developer McAleer & Rushe in a £5m investment.

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