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Bangor site may get facelift at last after delay lasting 20 years

By Margaret Canning

A long-running plan to rejuvenate the neglected Queen's Parade in Bangor has a new lease of life after action from the Department for Communities.

The department has put the seafront site at Queen's Parade and Marine Gardens on the market for an undisclosed sum in a move to attract interest from developers prepared to work on it.

Development of the area has been discussed since around 1997.

Around four years ago, developer Karl Greenfarm Properties Limited agreed to sell the land portfolio to the then-Department for Social Development (DSD) so that it could take charge of the site.

Communities Minister Paul Givan said: "The regeneration of Queen's Parade offers an exceptional opportunity to regenerate Bangor town centre by creating a new mixed retail, office, leisure and residential development.

"For almost 20 years much of this area of Bangor has lain dormant and underused. However, I am now ready to take the much anticipated step of offering the site for sale.

"I am therefore inviting developers to submit their proposals to complete the scheme."

North Down Borough Council granted planning permission last year for mixed-use development, including two hotels, shopping areas and car parks.

Design firm GM Design Associates was then appointed to draw up a development brief - which is now being circulated on the market to identify a private sector company which will carry out the project.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Communities said: "The preferred developer will be selected on the basis of their offer for the site and the proposal that best fulfils the department's vision and objectives for the regeneration of the Queen's Parade area."

Developers have until March 31 to put their ideas forward.

But she added that part of the site is to remain in the ownership of the department - land bound by Queen's Street, King Street, Southwell Road and Main Street.

Vesting notices have been published and issued to the last remaining property owners, and come into force on January 1.

North Down & Ards Borough Council will keep the Marine Gardens car park on a long term lease from the Crown Estate.

Bangor residents have complained that the area is unsightly, with boarded-up properties and abandoned businesses.

Karl Greenfarm Properties is part of the Blackbourne family's Karl group of companies.

The company built the landmark Obel buiding in Belfast.

In 2012, the firm said it believed the sale of the site was a "positive step forward for Bangor".

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