The five-storey listed building on Royal Avenue is one of very few art deco buildings remaining in Belfast. Located on Royal Avenue it has remained vacant since the Bank of Ireland relocated their headquarters to Donegall Square South in 2005.
In 2012 the building was headline news in Belfast when the “Take Back The City” element of the Occupy Belfast protest began squatting there.
In October of this year  it was announced that this attractive building had been sold. It seems more than likely that the building will be included in a private-sector proposal, called “Northside” to redevelop a neglected and decaying area in the northern part of the city centre.
13 October 2014
Northside Regeneration has been selected by the Department for Social Development (DSD) to take forward the development objectives of the Northside Urban Village Regeneration Implementation Plan.
The highly anticipated project will create an opportunity for up to £300million of private sector investment in a mixed use development in the area around the University of Ulster’s new Belfast Campus at York Street. It is anticipated that throughout the course of the project over 1500 jobs will be created or safeguarded, and the overall value to the Northern Ireland economy will be in the region of £770m.
Northside Regeneration is a consortium involving Balfour Beatty, a global infrastructure services company. Local property developer Kevin McKay has been invited to lead the project. This consortium was chosen following a competitive tendering process conducted by DSD, which assessed financial capacity and compatibility with DSD regeneration objectives.
A collaboration agreement setting out the respective roles and responsibilities of DSD and Northside Regeneration has been signed. The next stage of the process will be a full community consultation process. This will be followed by the development of detailed proposals for the design and construction of the buildings that will create this new urban landscape on the Northside of the City.
A public exhibition of the project’s initial proposals will be held at Belfast Central Library on Royal Avenue, from Monday 20 October until Saturday 25 October 2014. Between 5pm and 8pm on Monday 20 October and between 10am and 1pm on Saturday 25 October, the Northside Regeneration team will be available to address questions and provide information. Full details will be published in the press on Monday 13 October.
It is envisaged this regeneration scheme will have a mix of uses including social housing, retail, hospitality , purpose built managed student accommodation and city living.
The regeneration of the Northside of Belfast is considered the single most significant development in the life of the City in over a century. This multimillion pound project is a major inward investment for the City and the region as a whole, and with it come global standards and ambitions for the Northside redevelopment.
The consortium has assembled a world class team from across the outstanding pool of local expertise and the involvement of Balfour Beatty underpins this investment and brings international experience and skills to the project.
Ian Woosey, Director of Development at Balfour Beatty Investments, said, “The University of Ulster is at the very heart of the redevelopment area and has provided the stimulus for this regenerative change which will deliver significant economic benefits. The Northside Regeneration consortium is committed to maximising the significant economic social and cultural benefits that will flow from the development of an urban village and bring services, facilities, amenities, cultural infrastructure, creative enterprises and employment that will strengthen the city community. There are exciting apprenticeship and graduate opportunities and it is estimated that around 90% of all the construction spend will be with local SMEs.
“At the core of these plans are people, those who already live and work in and around the area, as well as, those who will become new residents; the transient student population who will make Belfast their new home; those who will work across the range of enterprises businesses and services supporting this new urban village; and all those who will be part of making it happen.”
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