Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Centre redevelopment plan submitted

The Royal Exchange project
A planning application for a multimillion-pound redevelopment of part of Belfast city centre has been submitted

A planning application for a multimillion-pound redevelopment of part of Belfast city centre has been submitted.

The Royal Exchange project was announced five years ago and aims to renew an area between Royal Avenue and the Cathedral Quarter.

The Department for Social Development has temporarily withheld more than £100 million funding support and the department faces deep cuts following Westminster's Comprehensive Spending Review.

The company behind the plan, Leaside Investments, is a consortium of two Northern Ireland firms - William Ewart and Snoddons - and Dutch firm ING.

Spokesman Nick Reid said: "In line with the development agreement which we signed with the Department of Social Development last December, we are submitting our application for this major redevelopment project.

"The submission of the application adds to our existing commitment which has included over £40 million of land and buildings acquisitions in recent years and while the retail market is not strong at the moment, the size and complexity of this scheme means that it is prudent to plan now and be ready when the market recovers."

The 11-acre area between Donegall Street and Royal Avenue takes in the historic North Street arcade which was burnt down in 2004.

The listed building has not been touched since and there has been criticism that the project has not moved quickly enough.

The development proposes more than 200 apartments, a hotel, an arts centre, car parks and retail units.

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