Belfast's Cathedral Quarter has received a boost with planning permission granted for a new music and entertainment hub.
City councillors have given the green light to turn the former Arnott's fruit and vegetable warehouse on Dunbar Street into an events space with a 1,600 capacity. The proposal was first submitted to Belfast City Council in late 2018 and finally approved by members of the planning committee yesterday evening.
The plans were put forward by the owners of Limelight Belfast Ltd for a "change of use of warehouse and offices to event space/entertainment venue (with ancillary bar) including internal and external alterations".
Proposed floor plans for the 882sqm two-storey building, located close to St Anne's Square, show a stage and bar area as well as dressing rooms, a cloakroom and first aid area.
Planning documents reveal that the new Limelight venue will be used for live music concerts and comedy events, live podcast recordings and TV/film recordings, with a maximum of two events per week.
The ground floor internal alterations will include demolishing internal walls and a mezzanine deck and creating the stage, bar area, foyer and cloakrooms.
The first floor is to be reconfigured to create toilets and staff offices/facilities.
External alterations will involve new and reconfigured entrance openings to the front elevation and a new emergency exit.
The existing warehouse, which has been derelict for a number of years, is not listed with planners stating that it "is of no particular architectural merit".
The new venue looks set to become a hub for the hundreds of students who have moved into the area around Ulster University's new campus on York Street.
Limelight Belfast's portfolio already includes two live venues, Katy's Bar and The Rock Garden, a rooftop terrace, both on Ormeau Avenue.
UUP councillor Jim Rodgers, a member of the council's planning committee, said: "This building was once home to a very successful business but it has been lying empty in recent years.
"These plans will provide a tremendous boost to the area."
It is expected that Limelight will relocate from its current licensed events space at the former Belfast Telegraph building.
The Royal Avenue site has been earmarked for a £75m redevelopment into 230,000sqft of offices, cafes, restaurants, retail space and a roof-top running track in a joint venture between McAleer & Rushe and Belfast City Council.