Health centre at King's Hall will create 500 jobs
The former King's Hall site in south Belfast is being transformed into a £100m healthcare and leisure development, which it claims will create 500 new jobs.
The huge 16-acre site on the Lisburn Road is being developed by Benmore Healthcare Developments. The firm wants to create a 'primary care centre', alongside a leisure park, residential care, gym, restaurants and a 160-bedroom hotel.
The move to create one large integrated medical facility was proposed under Transforming Your Care, which was a review into the health system in Northern Ireland.
David Burrows, chief executive of Benmore Group, said: "The King's Hall is a Belfast landmark synonymous for many years with the Balmoral agricultural show. Our plan for King's Hall is to create a landmark in healthcare. We will refurbish the art deco building, restoring it to its former glory. Alongside a new adjoining building, we will create a modern primary care centre.
"The overall development has a vision to create an integrated healthcare model which will be part of a wider lifestyle, leisure and well-being park. A space with care for the older people, hotel, gym, restaurants, creche, and modern public and private healthcare facilities all located on one site.
"It will be an example of the highest quality primary and community care, improving people's health and access to services, and create more than 500 sustainable jobs."
And former Health and Social Care Board chief executive John Compton, who is now a non-executive director of Benmore Healthcare Developments, said:
"King's Hall Primary Care Centre will create the opportunity for almost 50,000 people to access primary care services.
"Working directly alongside a range of more specialist services that might include district nursing, dentistry and occupational therapists, it will significantly improve patient outcomes.
"The site may also provide diagnostic services such as X-ray and patient testing."
Last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed the site was being redeveloped. A tender proposal was issued to potential investors, inviting bids to rejuvenate and lease the huge plot.
The King's Hall once played host to the Balmoral Show, but the huge agricultural event has now been moved to the former Maze prison site near Lisburn.
Mr Compton added: "Delivering better healthcare outcomes and encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles require an improvement in access to better quality facilities and services. Development of King's Hall will meet this need. Such facilities will enable skilled practitioners to provide a modern service to their patients."
Developer Benmore will now begin a 12-week consultation process, taking views from the community in the surrounding area.