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Belfast Black Box venue on market for £700,000

Commercial property

By Margaret Canning

The home of Belfast arts venue the Black Box has gone on the market for a guide price of around £700,000. Selling agents Whelan said they are seeking offers for the Cathedral Quarter arts centre by tender, and described it as a "unique investment".

Black Box Ltd is occupying the building on Hill Street on a 10-year lease.

It has become a well-established location for arts events and festivals.

And according to Whelan's, the organisation has applied to the Lands Tribunal for a new lease.

Its trustees also told the Belfast Telegraph that it's talking to its supporting organisations about how it can remain in the building for the long-term.

The trustees said: "We have been notified that the 18-22 Hill Street premises, that has been home to the Black Box since 2006, has been put on the market.

"The Black Box Trust are working with our stakeholders including government and local authority to ensure future viability of the organisation in its current location."

The statement added that the trust hoped to secure a form of long-term tenure - but it was not clear if the trust planned to buy the property outright.

"We are confident that any sale will not affect bookings or current activity in the venue and see this as an opportunity to secure long-term tenure and make sure that the Black Box remains central to community life and creativity here in the Cathedral Quarter."

The statement urged users of the centre to lend their support.

"We invite all of our festival partners, the promoters, performers and artists that we work with - as well as the 50,000 curious culture lovers from Belfast and beyond that cross our doorway every year - to support us in this exciting new direction."

The sale has been ordered by fixed charge receivers at Keenan Corporate Finance.

The firm is acting in the receivership of 2 Fat Turkeys Ltd.

Brian Nixon of Whelan's said he expected the venue would attract an investor interested in the continued operation of the venue, with its tenant Black Box Ltd saying: "It really is a prime bit of property these days as it's in the Cathedral Quarter with a sitting tenant, which appears to be trading well."

The centre is used by a range of organisations and events, including Culture Night Belfast, The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast Film Festival and the Out To Lunch Festival.

A number of family events and clubs use the centre, including the Children's Festival and the NI Science Festival.

Whelans has given a closing date of April 26 for contractual offers to buy the building.

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