Business

New Titanic Quarter apartment scheme 'can't be used for short-term lets'

Computer generated impression of the Loft Lines apartment scheme in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

A MAJOR new residential apartment scheme in Belfast's Titanic Quarter will not be permitted to be used for short-term holiday-lets.

Planning permission was officially granted to the £117 million Loft Lines development on Thursday night.

Work on the 778 apartments is due to start in late summer, with the project expected to take three years to complete.

It will see three new residential blocks constructed next to the Titanic Belfast tourist attraction, with the tallest block reaching 17 storeys (57 metres).

One of the three blocks will be turned into a mix of 78 social housing units and 73 lower cost homes which will be delivered by Choice Housing Association subsidiary ‘Maple and May'

The bulk of the scheme will be given over 627 build-to-rent serviced apartments.

But it's understood the conditions of the approval mean the units will be subject to long-term tenancy agreements, and won't be permitted to be used for short-term lets.

Lacuna Developments and Watkin Jones PLC are joint developers, but the build-to-rent model is based on an institutional investor funding or acquiring the scheme and effectively becoming the landlord.

Watkin Jones' chief investment officer, Alex Pease said: “The Loft Lines shows the potential of institutional investment to bring forward places with long-term value for the people who live in and around them, and we anticipate seeing Belfast as a prime investment destination grow as this scheme progresses.”

Constraints on car parking at the site has resulted in cycle storage and sustainable travel becoming a key element of the planning application.

The scheme, which has been backed by both Belfast Harbour and Titanic Quarter Ltd, will also include a riverfront promenade along with a one-acre park and boulevard.

The eventual uptake in permanent residents in the Titanic Quarter is also likely to push the case for a new cross harbour bridge in the area.

A long-term strategic plan published in 2019 by Belfast Harbour indicated a new cross-water pedestrian link is on the horizon.

Welcoming the planning approval, the port's chief executive, Joe O'Neill said: “The green light given will no doubt set a precedent for high quality city homes and public realm and help attract future inward investment to Belfast.”

Lacuna director Anthony Best added: “Belfast City Council's decision to approve the Loft Lines plans is testament to a shared vision by all parties to drive Belfast forward by delivering city-centric homes that give a welcome boost to Belfast's economy in the long-term."

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