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£400m Sirocco Quays revamp 'will make east bank of Lagan a key part of bigger city centre'

By John Mulgrew

A £400m plan for a massive revamp of Sirocco Quays in Belfast could create more than 5,000 jobs, it has been revealed.

The huge site would encompass more than 700,000sq ft of office space, a hotel, 815 homes, restaurants, pubs, shops and cafes.

In November the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the St Francis Group and a new company, Swinford (Sirocco) Limited, had bought the land.

A previous deal to acquire the site fell through after part of it was slapped with a Government conservation order.

Sirocco Quays is located between the Short Strand and Bridge End.

The owners of the former rope works and Sirocco Engineering Works have unveiled plans to create a new "riverfront district".

If the proposals come to fruition, it would turn out to be one of the biggest developments the city has seen.

There are also plans for a pedestrian footbridge to connect the site with the Waterfront Hall.

Philip Silk, director of Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd, said the Quays "will establish new benchmarks for quality across the office and residential space, and bring the first truly international branded hotel to Belfast".

"We are creating new construction jobs, and will build modern workspace for approximately 11.5% of the 46,000 new jobs Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035," he added.

"We are part of Belfast Agenda and want to contribute to the life, economy and community of the city."

Swinford agreed to buy the site in August 2016, with the deal completing in January.

Architects Broadway Malyan said the idea was to have the work completed by 2035.

"Our plan for 815 new homes is the largest residential development in the city centre," Mr Silk said.

"It will include a mix of private, rental, social and affordable accommodation.

"The new neighbourhood at Sirocco will deliver high-quality riverside living for a population of 1,600 residents, and boast new amenities including bars, restaurants and retail, all in an inspiring and exciting new environment.

"We have recognised the unmatched opportunity to extend and complement the traditional centre of Belfast, and bring the opposite bank of the River Lagan back into the life of the city.

"This is a site of significant importance to the continuing regeneration of both the city centre and east Belfast, and to the continued growth of Northern Ireland's economy."

There will now be a 12-week pre-application process that will allow the owners to display their plans to the public ahead of a full planning application.

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