Belfast mall CastleCourt celebrates 25 years with a rebrand
Exclusive: Planning application shows new look for centre
Belfast's best known shopping centre is set for a major facelift 25 years after it first opened its doors, it can be revealed.
CastleCourt, which houses Debenhams and Gap among other stores, is revamping its signage and undergoing a centre rebrand in a bid to give a fresh look to the Royal Avenue retail stalwart, which has been somewhat overshadowed since the opening of nearby Victoria Square.
A planning application shows new, bright illuminated red signs and branding for the front and sides of the building.
The existing metal sign will be replaced with a new 12-metre wide red design, which will be replicated across the centre's facades.
The new look will include illuminated vertical signs and large CastleCourt logos above the Gresham Street and Berry Street entrances.
Built by John Laing in the late 1980s, in its early days, it was targeted by the IRA. The centre was bombed five times during its construction and four times after it opened in 1990.
CastleCourt currently boasts around 80 stores and draws 13 million shoppers every year.
Glyn Roberts of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association said the revamp and rebrand was "good to see".
He added: "I think CastleCourt is a crucial part of the retail offering in Belfast city centre.
"It's good to see it going from strength-to-strength in spite of some difficult times.
"I think they generate a lot of footfall for the independent retailers around the area, as well as having some themselves.
The site was formerly occupied by an Army barracks and the luxury Grand Central Hotel, a venue that played host to the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Winston Churchill in its heyday.
Three years ago the Hermes real estate company took full control in a £400m deal to buy out the Westfield shopping centre group's interest in it and two other complexes in England.