Belfast Telegraph

More than 80 new Belfast city centre buildings currently under development

By John Mulgrew

More than 80 new Belfast city centre buildings are currently under development, it can be revealed. And in the last 10 years the city has built almost 1,800 apartments, alongside eight hotels.

That's according to the Future Belfast website, which is being relaunched and also celebrating 10 years.

Run by Gary Potter, it has charted the ever-changing skyline across the city, from new tourism developments like Belfast Harbour, Titanic Quarter, hotels, to the rise of student accommodation.

It's now a resource used by commercial property agents, planners and journalists across Belfast and beyond.

Now, after a short hiatus, he's relaunched a new website which gives users much greater control over search functions, and the ability to browse a map of Belfast to see where developments are underway.

According to Future Belfast, 28 city centre buildings are currently under construction, with a further 35 due to start in 2017 and 19 at pre-planning stage.

The site now charts and records the design, planning and history of around 600 buildings throughout Belfast, with around 5,000 images to illustrate how the city has changed.

"Future Belfast developed from a frustration with the lack of information available on the rapidly changing city," said Gary Potter.

"Debate and discussion was happening, but it was difficult to access the facts - what was really happening in the city.

"These were the early days of Twitter and there was no online planning portal. Where could the curious onlooker and the passionate citizen find the information they required?

"Future Belfast began rising up through the Google search rankings. People were visiting the resource, and returning.

"I wasn't alone and people were genuinely interested and passionate about their city. With no marketing, the website's unique visitor numbers were growing month-on-month."

The largest ongoing city developments include the City Quays project at Belfast Harbour, plans for a £55m office development in south Belfast, and several large hotels.

Work is also well underway on a £25m Marriott AC hotel, part of the City Quays development.

The City Quays is a major waterside development including grade A office space, and is home to law firm Baker & McKenzie as well as technology companies Cayan and BRS Golf.

Work is also under way on the City Quays 2 office development, which will sit between the new hotel and the existing office building.

Meanwhile, Paddy Kearney's Kilmona has received planning permission for the £55m Lanyon Central development, which would sit beside Central Station in Belfast.

It is due to be made up of four buildings - 14-storey and 10-storey office blocks, along with two smaller structures.

He is planning to develop a series of huge office buildings across the city over the next few years in order to help meet a severe shortage of top-end office space in Belfast.

As for hotels, work is under way on the Grand Central Hotel, a new 200-bedroom hotel run by the Hastings Hotels group at the 23-storey Windsor House building on Bedford Street.

MSM Construction has just started work on the 179-bed project, which is based at Hope Street and is owned by Andras House, businessman Lord Rana's company.

Belfast Telegraph

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