Belfast Telegraph

60,000 jobs in 25 years... the target for Titanic area

By John Mulgrew and Matthew Symington

As many as 60,000 jobs could be created over the next two decades as the result of the further regeneration of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, says chief executive of the quarter Mike Smith.

According to Mr Smith, some 20,000 jobs could be created within construction with a further 30,000 to 40,000 positions across a range of sectors, including both domestic and international business and tourism.

Mr Smith suggested that such a regeneration of the area would require a total investment of between £8bn and £10bn.

Currently, less than a fifth of Titanic Quarter’s 185-acre site has been developed — at a cost of around £350m — which includes the much anticipated Titanic Belfast building due to open later this month.

Aside from the unveiling of the jewel in the area’s tourism crown — which yesterday announced some 77,000 tickets had already been sold ahead of its opening — the ambitious predictions bank on a range of different business interests setting up shop in the Titanic Quarter.

But Mr Smith has said that inefficiency in the planning process along with the tightening of bank purse-strings remains a key barrier to further domestic redevelopment in the area.

“We can only develop at a pace that developers and the market can absorb,” he added.

“Therefore our predictions are based on a 25-year period.”

Sam Heaney is the site’s senior project manager.

He said the team was actively “drumming up business and trade” — both at home and across the water.

“We are trying to get businesses to add or move from their operations in other areas such as London and Dublin.

“We need to now go and populate the offices.”

According to Mr Heaney, other areas of focus will be the creative industries — notably film and television production — following on from the success of the quarter’s Paint Hall.

“Creative media is another area we see. Game Of Thrones, for example, is set to come back soon for its third series,” he said.

“In the interim we have invested in new film studios... we are trying to capitalise on that.”

With the advent of the new Titanic Building hoping to attract thousands more tourists to the city, the area has additional planning permission for at least another three hotels in order to cope with the rising demand.

Belfast Telegraph

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