Belfast Telegraph

Plans submitted to turn Belfast car park into luxury £17m apartment block

By John Mulgrew

A Belfast car park could be transformed into a £17m high-end apartment block.

English firm Barnett Developments is behind the seven-storey, 88-apartment building plan which, if granted permission, will be located at the bottom of the Ormeau Road, just behind UTV's headquarters.

Barnett Developments, which builds houses and apartments across the UK, bought the site last year.

The location has been earmarked for development for five years and there was originally planning permission for a similar building.

Richard Bullough, development manager of Barnett Developments, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We have planning on that piece of land at the moment and have put in a better scheme for approval.

"It will be luxury two-bed apartments, three-beds and townhouses. We think that it's a great area.

"We love Belfast and think it's a great area with a very skilled population. Looking at the indicators, we think we are doing the right thing.

"We would hope to start this year, but we are very much in the hands of the planners."

The project is the first that the company has taken on in Northern Ireland.

"We have been looking at other opportunities, but we haven't found other projects," Mr Bullough said.

Ciaran Fox, director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, insisted the proposal was a good sign.

"This proposed development is further evidence that confidence is returning to the market," he said. "While much of the recent focus has been on student accommodation, it is also very welcome to also see applications coming forward to cater for working people who want city living.

"Housing density is an important factor in creating a vibrant, sustainable city centre. From what we see in planning, Belfast is moving in the right direction.

"An increase in communal space, a people-first approach to street planning and improved public transport links would act as a catalyst for further investment and development."

The previous plans for the site included a 60-bedroom apartment development, with 25 car park spaces.

It is understood TDK Property was appointed receiver for the location in July 2012 and subsequently brought it to market in 2014. It then reportedly sold for £717,000 last year.

There are already a number of other apartment buildings in the local area.

Among them are Lucas Building and Tyrone House on Ormeau Avenue, and the nearby Somerset Studios and Shaftesbury Court buildings, both on Marcus Ward Street.

Another luxury apartment complex, the £13m Matic, is currently under construction in Chichester Street in the centre of the city. Among its features are a private pool, a fully equipped gym and more.

Belfast Telegraph