Belfast Telegraph

Belfast’s Gallery restaurant will reopen soon, vows developer

By Ryan McAleer

Property developer Gary McCausland has said he is close to securing a new tenant for his £1m Belfast restaurant The Gallery.

The former TV presenter also said his £65m plan to build a massive office block in the city centre remains on course.

Mr McCausland's Dublin Road eatery was opened last summer as part of the Richland Group's new nine-storey apartment development of the same name.

But in February The Gallery shut its doors, claiming it was undergoing minor works ahead of a new franchise taking over.

Four months on the two-floor high-spec restaurant remains closed.

The property is now being advertised for lease by Savills and Lisney, with offers to buy the 3,826sq ft unit also considered.

Mr McCausland said that a deal with an interested franchise had fallen through earlier this year.

"They didn't fulfil terms of the agreement we made, so unfortunately we had to pull out of that," he said.

However, he added that offers from four different parties were now on the table, and suggested that it could reopen by September.

"Someone will be taking over The Gallery soon. It'll be an exciting tenant and it will add a lot of value to the building and the Dublin Road," he added.

Mr McCausland said he had always intended that a franchise would take over the restaurant.

But he said the 10-year nature of the lease meant he wants to ensure he gets the right party.

The developer also said that any customers left holding gift vouchers will receive a full refund.

Mr McCausland described the Dublin Road's potential as "incredible".

He added: "I think the Dublin Road is about to go through the roof. I think Botanic right down to the new Grand Central Hotel is going to be a huge new thoroughfare in Belfast."

Claiming the area has historically suffered from underinvestment, he said: "I believe it has been neglected badly, while the Cathedral Quarter has had everything pumped into it.

"But as rates go up in the Cathedral Quarter, it's going to become more expensive to do business down there."

The property developer said his other major venture - the £65m One Bankmore Square - remains viable and on course.

The huge office block plan, which was granted planning permission in May 2017, would replace the Movie House cinema on the Dublin Road.

Mr McCausland said the finance remains in place, but said it would not proceed to development without the security of a major anchor tenant.

Belfast Telegraph

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