Belfast Telegraph

Cityside in £2m revamp as it prepares for influx of 15,000 students

By John Mulgrew

The Cityside retail park in Belfast is to undergo a major £2m refurbishment, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

It's focusing on increasing its leisure space, and adding a new food court.

The revamp will add to the existing 14-screen cinema, health club, bingo club and childrens' play area.

The York Street development is adding a number of other retail units, which are due to be completed in June.

Cityside already boasts a range of brands including Asda Living, Sports Direct, New Look, Home Bargains, Poundstretcher and Tesco.

Letting agents, Savills and DTZ McCombe Pierce, say the construction of the new Ulster University campus, which is close to Cityside, will ensure strong demand for space from food and leisure firms.

Claire McAnallen, associate director for Savills retail, said the new Ulster University campus is "expected to accommodate approximately 15,000 students by 2018".

"With Cityside retail park sitting adjacent to the campus, the introduction of Cityside Excite is very timely," she said.

"The new configurations will allow for a wide mix of leisure activities, such as laser tag, climbing walls, bowling and crazy golf."

The entire Cityside development is one of the largest mixed retail and leisure developments in Belfast, covering 365,000 sq ft.

Cityside will aim to attract a swathe of students from the new Ulster University campus, alongside a series of major student housing developments planned close-by.

That includes a 682-bedroom project at York Street by UK firm UniCiti, and a 475-room building by Patton Developments at Great Patrick Street.

More than 1,600 new student rooms have now been granted permission.

The Cityside redevelopment is the latest project to get under way in the city, while there's been movement in a series of other schemes. Not far away, Belfast's Royal Exchange has been bought by a UK investment fund which could see work finally begin on the long-delayed £360m project.

Plans for the city centre development have been under way for five years.

Many of the buildings stretch around Royal Avenue and into the Cathedral Quarter.

But progress has stalled on another huge project, also located in the north area of the city centre.

The £300m Northside Regeneration is planning to develop a so-called 'mixed use' scheme, close to Royal Avenue.

But in January, it hit a roadblock after it was refused outline planning permission.

Belfast Telegraph