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Aparthotel plan at old warehouse to bring hundreds of jobs to Belfast


Historic: Artist’s impression of Bedford Yard in the city’s Bedford Street

Historic: Artist’s impression of Bedford Yard in the city’s Bedford Street

Historic: Artist’s impression of Bedford Yard in the city’s Bedford Street

The architects of a new 13-storey aparthotel and offices have said the Belfast scheme will bring hundreds of jobs after it won planning permission.

And the developer of Bedford Yard on Bedford Street also said he's confident the warehouse redevelopment will draw office tenants in future, despite the current low levels of office workers in the city.

Bedford Yard is to be located at a red-brick terrace between Wetherspoon's and Pizza Express.

The four-storey ex-warehouse will be refurbished and a 132-room aparthotel will be built of lighter materials in the space behind it.

The revamp of the former linen warehouse - part of the city's Linen Conservation Area - will include two ground floor restaurants, with Grade A offices above.

Todd Architects, which is working on the project for Andras House, said the scheme was expected to create hundreds of jobs.

It was granted planning permission at a meeting of Belfast City Council's planning committee last week.

Andrew Murray, a director at Todd Architects, said: "The success of this planning application is welcome news for the local hospitality sector and Belfast city centre as a whole. The scheme will breathe life back into the historic frontage on Bedford Street, blending the modern design of the aparthotel with the traditional features in the existing terrace.

"We believe Bedford Yard is the type of thoughtfully designed, high-quality, large-scale development desired by Belfast city, assisting growth and supporting other investment and the city's' ongoing regeneration, in a scheme that will provide vitality through its mixed-use nature."

There will be a courtyard between the terrace and aparthotel with access through a gated opening - which Todd Architects said echoed the city's traditional 'entries' off other streets.

Mr Murray added: "The aparthotel's mix of solid panels and glass has been balanced to create a light feeling building without becoming a 'glass box'."

He said the combination of materials used in the aparthotel had followed discussions with planners.

Office blocks in the city centre have had low levels of occupancy since the start of lockdown after government advice to work from home where possible.

And while some workers began to return over the summer months, rising levels of Covid-19 infections have meant a return home for many.

But Rajesh Rana, director of Andras House, told the Belfast Telegraph he would still go ahead with the office component of the scheme.

"I am confident that the office market will return within the development programme for this project.

"The offices we are developing are within the Victorian terrace at the front of the site, which are former industrial buildings, and there has been a real demand for this kind of unit from tech companies and I believe this will continue.

"Also smaller office suites, of the size we are promoting, will be attractive for firms that wish to downsize or who don't want to commit to larger spaces."

He said the aparthotel will offer hotel services and serviced apartments with living areas and kitchenettes. Todd Architects is also working on the refurbishment and extension of the nearby Ewarts Warehouse. The site, to be named Bedford Square, will be a new head office for accountancy firm Deloitte.

Belfast Telegraph