A Belfast snooker hall and bar complex is set to be replaced by an £18m 12-storey apartment building, it was revealed today.
And if the planners give the green light to the application, Frames in Little Donegall Street will be demolished to make way for an ultra-modern glass-fronted tower block with 63 apartments, basement car parking and space for offices and commercial use.
A plan has been submitted to build the luxury flats on the Frames site which currently houses a snooker hall, a cafe, public bar and function room.
The applicants are Frames' owners and brothers, Jim and Gerald Magee of Gracemount Enterprises Ltd.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph today about the development, Gerald Magee said: "This is an opportunity to ignite a young, vibrant city, helping it to emerge from the Troubles."
And expect the high life if the apartments get the go-ahead. Mr Magee said the development will be a mix of accommodation including one-bedroom studios to two-bedroom with en suite apartments right up to 15 penthouse apartments.
There will also be an atrium running through the building's core and a specially-designed garden area.
"The apartments will be top-end," said Mr Magee. "The majority of the apartments will have two bedrooms and two bathrooms."
The building, designed by Belfast-based Lyons Architect, will make a bold statement with its 'cheese wedge' shape and glass facade over two towers.
"It is like nothing else in this part of the city centre at the moment," said Gerald Magee.
The Magees, who are funding the venture themselves, say the commercial element of the build is important for the 'community' aspect of the development.
And they have hit out at the lack of Government investment in this part of the city compared to the nearby Cathedral Quarter.
"From the back of Castle Court to the Cathedral Quarter and everything in between has been forgotten about," said Mr Magee.
"This is the North East Quarter of the city and there has been no commitment or direction given here by government."
And the businessmen are confident there will be a market for the luxury flats when they go up in three years time.
"Research indicates that by the year 2025, 40% of the single [person] population will be living in the city centre," said Mr Magee.
The planning outcome will also determine the future of the existing snooker hall, bar and cafe. Mr Magee said: "There is space for commercial and retail use in the application, but I don't know if the snooker hall or anything else will be here."
The building has a historic past, most notably as the site for Watson mattress factory. The Watco mattress was the only one Queen Victoria would sleep on.