Northern Ireland news

Belfast City Council opens 'imaginarium' in former Tesco Metro building

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

A FORMER city centre supermarket has been given a fresh lease of life as an events space.

The former Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland on Royal Avenue was the built between 1864 and 1869 and was opened by Tesco as a Metro in 1996 on a 25-year lease.

However, after the 2018 Primark fire the store was forced to close for nine months, which had a depressing impact on the business.

The supermarket chain relinquished its lease in October 2020 and Belfast City Council acquired the listed building.

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

The council submitted a planning application seeking permission to use the former store as a community, recreational and cultural space for two years.

The planning committee will consider a report recommending approval of the application on Tuesday.

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

That report reveals the council will launch a pilot concept of "an imaginarium - an immersive experience for visitors to learn about the city".

A council spokesman said: "Belfast is now a UNESCO City of Music so we've turned 2 Royal Avenue into a unique space for some of the great musical talent that Belfast has to offer."

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

The first event took place yesterday in the temporary hub for music, art, workshops and markets, with bookings until December 31.

There will be a screening of The Snowman accompanied by a live performance from Downshire Brass and the relaxing Sound Baths, music workshops, gigs and performances from choirs to busking bands.

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

The former Tesco Metro store at 2 Royal Avenue venue will operate as a temporary hub for events from music to art, to workshops and markets. The building was the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland built between 1864 and 1869. Picture Mal McCann.

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