24th Jan 2019 in Business

Destination CQ BID attended an informal meeting with Castlebrooke Investments Ltd last week to discuss their recent public announcements around the commencement of the first phase of their scheme, and the further development planning for ‘Tribeca Belfast’.

The BID reiterated the support for the Phase 1 proposals and the public announcement of a contractor appointment as real commitment to investment in Royal Avenue and Lower Garfield Street.

Castlebrooke clarified that they have recently appointed a new scheme architect to take a fresh approach to the next phase of the project; Squire & Partners a London based practice have now been appointed to engage on the remaining elements of the scheme. A current example working alongside significant heritage assets can be found here. Local Heritage specialists Consarc remain within the development team.

Change in direction ?

Previous iterations with the original planning consent were shaped around ‘big box’ retail within the curtilage of the former North Street Arcade. Given the very dynamic and volatile nature of the High Street this is no longer a consideration. At present commercial aspirations are around the Grade A office market, residential and smaller independent led retail opportunities.

At present the architectural team are reviewing scheme basics, such as scale and massing, two significant concerns of the original outline proposals. Conversations also revolved around the underground parking; heritage and cultural assets, and public space. All are currently under review as part of the planning process.

Next steps

The DCQ BID is keen to seek assurances and encourage significant and meaningful engagement with local businesses, organisations and locals residents in the BID area. The BID wants to ensure this is not a box ticking exercise and a clear understanding of the scheme is presented.

DCQ BID Manager Gareth Neill remains concerned around issues adjacent to the development sites in and around Cathedral Quarter.

“With the exciting pipeline of projects; The Sixth (former Bel Tel building); proposals for Smithfield & Union; the new Ulster University campus expansion and surrounding residential developments public sector commitments remain in abeyance. Streets Ahead 3 public realm proposals will dramatically improve the attractiveness of the space between buildings whilst dealing with critical issues around sewer infrastructure. Commitment to the proposed (and much needed) £32m investment in the Belfast Central library has remained off the table whilst an executive is not in place either”.

DCQ BID and stakeholders continue the to lobby Civil Service and urge Belfast City Council to consider these longstanding projects as critical to the wider City Recovery programme.

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