Public realm reimagined as new shared space introduced in Linen Quarter
FLAXX at Linen Quarter, an exciting new outdoor social space at Brunswick Street, will formally open to the public at the end of this month.
A first for Belfast, the pioneering scheme has been developed by Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) as part of a funding package through the Department for Communities Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme and delivered in partnership alongside the Department for Infrastructure and Belfast City Council.
Boasting a games area complete with a pétanque court, outdoor seating, a performance area with a stage for small concerts, and a lighting projection, Flaxx at Linen Quarter is an impressive 43-metre-long structure that will become a vibrant hub for up to approximately 250 people to enjoy social and cultural experiences.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “This is an innovative project that has seen this area of Belfast reimagined to deliver something completely new for the City. I'm delighted to see the positive change being delivered, through the Covid19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, which has funded FLAXX.
“I commend the Linen Quarter BID in their vision for this area. It will no doubt be a vibrant, engaging place for people to enjoy the area with all that it will offer including cultural and musical experiences as well as a place to socialise.”
FLAXX at Linen Quarter is just one of many public realm initiatives led by LQ BID over the last 12 months with two parklets, colourful murals and vinyl wraps, and increased lighting and planting, all enhancing the District.
Belfast lord major Michael Long said: “We’re working with partners including the LQ BID to deliver 'A Bolder Vision for Belfast', so it’s fantastic to see the Linen Quarter’s look and feel transformed in recent times.
“FLAXX is an impressive continuation of the ambition partners share for this important part of the city, which we see as a people focused district and a key gateway between the new Belfast Transport Hub and the city centre. With thousands of people living in, working in and enjoying the Linen Quarter every day, it’s important we continue to make it a priority.”
FLAXX will bring increased positive activity to the Brunswick Street area and its adjacent Blackstaff Square which had previously been considered a hotspot for disruptive behaviour.
Chris McCracken, managing director at LQ BID said: “By taking a look at counterpart cities – Manchester, London, Amsterdam for instance – investment in the public realm to enable people to safely congregate is widely apparent. Enhanced greenery, pedestrianisation and defined outdoor spaces all enhance the aesthetic and support the city to be an enjoyable place to spend time.
“We need to think creatively to restore economic vitality to Belfast and we’re proud that FLAXX at Linen Quarter demonstrates innovative thinking to transform the Brunswick Street and Blackstaff Square area into a contemporary space.
“We look forward to welcoming families, tourists and professionals to come and enjoy the space when we officially open later this month. This summer we will be able to introduce cultural and social events with the support of the newly appointed operator.”
Hospitality firm Bachus Group has been appointed to operate FLAXX, which will be open Monday to Saturday from 11.30am to 11.00pm and Sunday from 12.30pm to 11.00pm.
Mark Salley, general manager at Linen House said: “We’re looking forward to showing how a little creative thinking can go a long way when it comes to giving the city a needed boost. Not only will we be offering an extended hospitality offering, FLAXX also offers us the opportunity to host regular events and broadcast sporting events – all important drivers when it comes to bringing people to the city.”