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23rd Jan 2019 in Business

The Cathedral Quarter Trust (CQT) has issued the following statement in response to the proposed ‘Tribeca‘ Belfast brand:

The Cathedral Quarter Trust was established in 2012 to represent the interests of stakeholders in the area and with four primary objectives:

  • To support the Cathedral Quarter as a centre for the arts and creative industries.
  • To support the growth of the mixed-use economy in Cathedral Quarter.
  • To generate high levels of public participation.
  • To build and maintain a supportive infrastructure.

Alongside this the Trust also works to promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical environment of the Cathedral Quarter.

As befits Cathedral Quarter’s standing as the oldest and most historic part of the city, and its established reputation as Belfast’s dynamic cultural quarter, one of CQT’s key aims is to promote and celebrate awareness of the area’s character, its historic buildings and streetscapes and to advocate for best practice in heritage-led regeneration.

The Trust has responded to a number of previous public planning consultations on the redevelopment of the area and, while we acknowledge the need for, and welcome the many benefits of, regeneration of the area, we would reiterate that all planned development should respect the Cathedral Quarter’s historic built environment, its rich social and cultural assets and, perhaps most importantly of all, the area’s unique identity.

We wish to give our response to the recently announced re-branding of the development formerly known as Royal Exchange, now proposed to be called ‘Tribeca Belfast’ by the developers Castlebrooke Investments. Our response is informed by Cathedral Quarter Trust Board concerns about the ‘Tribeca Belfast’ brand but also reflects broader discussions held at a recent, positive meeting with representatives from Castlebrooke Investments. There are several points upon which we would like to comment.

Cathedral Quarter area

We are concerned at the public perception, evidenced across social media, that the name ‘Cathedral Quarter’ would be replaced by ‘Tribeca Belfast’ as a result of this proposed rebrand. We would like to state that this is not the case and any implication of this was unintended.

The Cathedral Quarter is a well-established part of the city, rooted in the Belfast’s history and heritage, which exists as a substantially larger geographic area than ‘Tribeca Belfast’ and which is strongly embedded in the hearts and minds of Belfast citizens and visitors alike. There are absolutely no plans to change or ‘rebrand’ the Cathedral Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter Trust will continue to work hard to promote and develop the area.

‘Tribeca Belfast’ Brand

While the Cathedral Quarter Trust acknowledges the importance of establishing a recognisable brand identity for the benefit of the development’s sales, marketing and international promotion, we are nonetheless disappointed by the decision to choose the brand identity of ‘Tribeca Belfast’.

In our opinion this does not, in any way, reflect the unique history and heritage of the city and, in its clear identification with the TriBeCa area of New York, does nothing to establish and promote a distinctive, unique and international-facing Belfast-based brand identity.

We believe that it is possible to develop a brand for this development that is outward-facing and aspirational whilst, at the same time, reflective and respectful of Belfast’s unique history, heritage and culture.

We are encouraged by recent meetings with Castlebrooke Investments and look forward to engaging with them in a meaningful consultation process and working with them to identify an appropriate way forward.

If you have any queries regarding this please contact info@cqtrust.org

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