Major multi-use city centre health facility is planned

Artist's image of how the new Healthworks facility in Belfast's Great Victoria Street will look

Plans have been submitted for a ground-breaking 23,000 sq ft multi-use health facility aimed at filling critical service gaps and revolutionising inner-city healthcare in Belfast,

Healthworks in Great Victoria Street is being proposed by O’Connor McCann (OCMC), whose directors include Dr Peter Keeling, until recently the chief executive of diagnostic commercialisation company Diaceutics plc.

It in effect will be a sister facility to Dataworks at Kings Hall Life Sciences Park.

The new multi-million pound city centre facility would become a high-specification hub designed to meet the requirements of a range of occupiers, including GP, specialist occupational health and pharmacy services.

The location was strategically chosen to serve both the increasing inner-city population from Weavers Court and other inner-city living developments, as well as the corridor between Queen’s University and Ulster University.

Healthworks is OCMC’s second major investment in the rapidly-growing healthcare field following its acquisition of the Dataworks building, which is currently occupied by SpaMedica and Diaceutics.

Peter Keeling, founder and chief executive of Diaceutics, who is standing down after 18 years
Peter Keeling, founder and chief executive of Diaceutics, who is standing down after 18 years Peter Keeling, founder and chief executive of Diaceutics

Dr Keeling, who co-founded Diaceutics in 2005, said: “We’re excited to provide what we hope will be one of the most affordable and accessible primary and specialist care centres in Northern Ireland as we extend our investment into the healthcare sector in Belfast.

“Our vision is a bold one, designed to meet the dynamic needs of a modern urban living and working population in a single location at an affordable cost.

“Whilst the suburbs of Belfast are generally well served with neighbourhood healthcare, the inner-city is not.

“We wanted to meet this new opportunity with a forward-thinking project and we are in late-stage negotiations with our first health practice to occupy the space. We expect to announce this shortly.”

Letting agent CBRE NI is anticipating significant levels of interest from other health-related occupiers in the scheme, including from pharmacy and diagnostic partners, dental and optician practitioners and wellness and fitness operators.

Its senior surveyor James Turkington said: “Healthworks is an incredibly exciting project to be involved in, with its strategic location close to the Belfast Grand Central Station and Weavers Cross developments.

“It has a catchment area that incorporates both the city centre commercial and business core, and a number of purpose-built student housing schemes, so the anticipated footfall is significant.”