Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Former Army post at Divis Tower gets £1m transformation

Published 20/01/2009 | 01:02

They once provided shelter and an eagle eye view for soldiers stationed in the heart of west Belfast.

Now the top two floors of the landmark Divis Tower apartment block have been transformed into residential accommodation thanks to a £1.1m refurbishment programme.

The 18th and 19th floors of the tower block, located in the Falls Road area, were for over thirty years used as an observation post by British soldiers to monitor the activity of paramilitaries. At the height of the Troubles, the army was only able to access the post by helicopter.

The floors have now been reinstated for use as social housing.

Housing Executive Chief Executive Paddy McIntyre yesterday unveiled the high level improvements, which included the provision of new kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems, windows and internal doors.

The refurbishments also created a new roof structure, as well as extensive landscaping and a new community garden being provided for residents.

Lifts have been upgraded to accommodate the newly refurbished 18th and 19th floors as well as general improvements to internal hallways, lobbies, and stairways.

“The history of Divis Tower has been well documented so it’s good to be here today to see at first hand the benefits of this latest scheme — particularly the 18th and 19th floors which were out of our ownership for around 20 years,” said Paddy McIntyre.

“The tower is entering a new era and the improvements will ensure that it remains a very popular place to live. With the reinstatement of the 18th and 19th floors we had the added bonus of an extra eight flats for people on the waiting list for the area.”

Long term resident and member of the West Belfast Housing Community Network John Leathem said: “I’ve lived in Divis Tower for almost 20 years and I really love it. Not only is it one of west Belfast’s most prominent landmarks but residents enjoy some of the best views in Belfast.”

The tower featured as a backdrop to much of the violence which took place during the Troubles, and witnessed several deaths.

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