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New café part of plans to rebuild Primark store

The listed five-storey Bank Buildings in central Belfast was gutted in a blaze last August. Picture by Mal McCann

A NEW café is to be built as part of plans to rebuild the Primark store in Belfast city centre, a year after it was gutted in a blaze.

A planning application to restore the historic Bank Buildings has been submitted to Belfast City Council.

The listed buildings on Royal Avenue, built between 1885 and 1900, were gutted after a fire ripped through the premises on August 28 last year.

Plans to restore the buildings include the construction of upper floors which were demolished last autumn following the fire.

A wall constructed on Bank Street in the 1970s will be re-built as part of plans to connect Bank Buildings with the existing Primark store on Castle Street.

A café is also due to be built in the store.

The plans will be advertised by the city council today.

The facade of the Bank Buildings will be reconstructed using stone and brickwork removed after the fire.

The main building was completely gutted in a fire as the Primark store was preparing to open a new extension at Commonwealth House on Castle Street almost a year ago.

The extension, which was saved in the blaze, opened to the public in December.

A second Primark store in Belfast opened at Fountain House at Donegall Place.

Following the major fire, a large area around the Bank Buildings was cordoned off for months, forcing some traders to move or close their businesses.

A total of 14 businesses, including nearby Tesco and Zara outlets, were closed for several months.

The famous Bank Buildings clock, which towered over the city centre for more than 200 years was removed from the site in December for repairs.

It is still unclear whether it can be fully restored.

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