McAleer and Rushe launch bid for £60m Belfast office and hotel development

An artist's impression of the proposed office and hotel scheme at Norwich Union House
Ryan McAleer

CO TYRONE construction company McAleer and Rushe has moved ahead with a £60 million bid for a new office and hotel complex in Belfast city centre.

The Cookstown-based building firm has submitted a planning application to demolish Norwich Union House, along with the existing retail units on Castle Street, close to Primark.

The businesses on Castle Street were among the hardest hit by the August 2018 fire that destroyed Primark's flagship Bank Buildings store in Belfast.

The proposal, submitted by ES NUH Ltd, also includes the demolition of a multi-storey car park at Fountain Street.

ES NUH includes three McAleer and Rushe directors and is ultimately controlled by the Tyrone firm's parent undertaking, the Swiss Centre Corporate Capital Trust.

The proposals will see the existing site of Norwich Union House replaced with a new six-storey 243,000 sq ft mixed-use building, that will include grade A office space and a 174 bedroom hotel.

It also entails a number of street level units.

McAleer and Rush have said that subject to planning permission, the development could begin early next year and potentially involve up to 400 construction jobs.

It represents the latest major development bid for the area.

Oakland Holdings has been given planning permission for a 175-room nine storey aparthotel a the corner of College Street and Queen Street.

Bywater Properties and Ashmour have also been given the green light for a 260,000 sq ft mixed office and retail development at the site of a car park at North Street and Smithfield Market.

Stephen Surphlis of ES NUH Ltd said: “This area has suffered recently as a result of the Bank Buildings fire and our vision is to bring the area to life again through this exciting mix-of-uses.

“The Castle Street, Fountain Street and Queen Street area has great potential to become an emergent place for entrepreneurial activity and to be used as a base for leisure and business travellers visiting the city.

“We have undertaken a very engaging and insightful pre-application process and hope the plans will be welcomed by Belfast City Council in the time ahead.”

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