Redevelopment of former BHS site 'to begin within weeks' after planning green light

A CGI preview of Alterity Investment's plans for the former BHS site in Belfast city centre.

WORK to redevelop the former British Home Stores (BHS) building in Belfast city centre is to begin within weeks after the site’s new owner secured planning permission for a new retail and leisure scheme.

Alterity Investments bought the extensive site between Castle Lane, Castle Place and Cornmarket in 2021.

The 70,000 sq ft unit, synonymous with BHS for more than half a century, has been largely vacant since the high street retailer’s collapse in August 2016.

Alterity, which also owns number of surrounding buildings, lodged its proposal for the site last summer.

Belfast City Council’s planning committee has now signed off on the plans.

Styled as ‘The Keep’, Alterity said it will result in “a significant reconfiguration” of the ground floor space into multiple retail units, with a partial change of use on upper floors to allow for leisure businesses.

The façade on Castle Lane, Castle Arcade and Cornmarket will also be altered.

The 12 month rebuild and refit is expected to start in the autumn.

Previously known as Deramore, the family-owned property firm dates back to 1975.

Alterity Investments now operates throughout the UK, with assets in excess of £100m.

Richard Faloon, the firm’s commercial director said: “The project represents a substantial investment in the city centre and we believe that as well as regenerating the site, it will also help revitalise the surrounding area and benefit the existing holdings the company already has in the Castle Lane and Cornmarket area.”

Frazer Kidd is commercial agent for the property’s ground floor units and three upper floors.

Brian Kidd said: “Alterity is an investor with a proven track record and it is a vote of confidence in the city that they have committed to bringing this landmark building back into use in a way that meets the needs of modern retailers and leisure operators.

“We have seen really strong interest from international occupiers in the retail and leisure sectors in this prime location between Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and city centre core, and we hope to be in the position to confirm details of some of those occupiers in the coming months.”

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