Work starting on 90-unit housing scheme on former Park Avenue Hotel site

Announcing Choice's plans for the site of the former Park Avenue Hotel is the housing group's chief executive Michael McDonnell (left) with (from left) Mark Gilmore (EHA Construction director) Mairead Burns (Choice development officer) and Paul Murtagh (Choice head of development)
Gary McDonald Business Editor

ONE of the north's largest housing associations Choice has set out details of its plans for a mix of 90 new homes on the former Park Avenue Hotel site in east Belfast.

The once-popular 56-room four-star Holywood Road hotel, which opened in 1959, has been razed to the ground since it closed for good in 2020.

Choice said its £16 million scheme, due for completion by spring 2024, will be made up of 63 units for social housing use and 27 for private rent.

The development involves hard and soft landscaping including communal gardens, provision of car parking spaces, a tenant and staff hub, cycle parking, a substation, retaining walls, and associated works including road improvement works at the junction of Park Avenue and Sefton Drive.

Choice Group chief executive Michael McDonnell said: “We recognise the historic importance of this site, and our considered plans will enhance the existing streetscape, create a high-quality development and complement the local built environment.

“There has been significant investment in the Belfast City Council area with 15 developments completed in the last three years, an investment of over £66 million.

“This latest investment of £16m further demonstrates our commitment to addressing the growing need for quality affordable housing in the Belfast area”.

The 90 new homes will include a range of two- and three-bedroom houses and two-bed apartments, providing a mix of social and private tenures.

Choice subsidiary Maple and May will manage 27 of the two-bedroom apartments as private rental units.

Project developer Lacuna Developments, alongside contractor EHA Group and RPP Architects, worked with Choice to develop the project.

Mr McDonnell added: “The demand for affordable housing across Northern Ireland is growing, whether this is social or affordable rental or purchase options. We will continue to demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of mixed tenure developments which can foster greater social and economic benefits facilitating and supporting thriving sustainable communities”.

Mark Gilmore, construction director at EHA Group, said: “We're committed to working with the social housing sector to build quality, affordable homes in the areas most at need.

“Mixed tenure developments are the future and working alongside Choice and partners we developed a project that offered the best in sustainable housing while paying close attention to its surrounding area.”

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