Belfast Telegraph

Titanic chiefs hoping to extend permission for exhibition centre

By John Mulgrew

The Titanic Quarter is planning to extend temporary permission for its huge exhibition centre. The Titanic Exhibition Centre was given the green light for an initial three-year term during a Belfast City Council planning committee meeting in 2015.

Since then, it has attracted a number of big-name trade shows, including the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show.

At the time, Titanic Quarter's Conal Harvey said while it would "initially be a temporary structure... given the level of interest generated we're confident that a permanent centre, similar to Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre or Dublin's RDS, will follow".

The Titanic Quarter is now holding a public event to outline its plans for extending planning permission for the centre.

The centre was also home to the last two Assembly election counts, and is understood to remain the counting centre for Belfast during the June 8 General Election.

A public pre-application event on the plans is due to be held on Tuesday, between 3pm and 7pm, at Titanic Belfast.

The centre also played host to events such as the Icons technology festival.

In 2015, the Belfast Telegraph revealed some of the city's biggest and most lucrative trade shows were moving from their former King's Hall home to the conference centre.

Meanwhile, in February, the Titanic Quarter announced it had refinanced £75m worth of loans with Danske Bank.

The deal, with companies behind the development, involves the refinancing of its investment assets and the release of the development lands into the control of the shareholders.

The centre is now home to the £90m Titanic Belfast, visited by more than two million people from 145 countries, and the huge set of one of the world's most successful television series, Game of Thrones, filmed in a former shipyard paint hall.

Plans are also under way for a £26.5m office development, capable of housing 1,500 people.

Titanic Quarter Ltd and Belfast Harbour said Olympic House would be a 148,000 sq ft office, situated next to the Public Record Office and Belfast Metropolitan College.

The company behind the Titanic Quarter warned in its latest accounts that "uncertainty" around the vote for Brexit was likely to impact on its business after it posted losses of more than £300,000.

Titanic Island Ltd, which has carried out development on the site, also claims that an agreement reached with its landlord, Belfast Harbour, will push on further developments, including the proposed Olympic House office project.

The company posted losses of £333,000 for the year ending December 2015.

That was down from £1.16m a year earlier.

Titanic Island Ltd's retained losses grew to £38.2m, up from £37.8m in the previous set of accounts.

The company said that more than £350m had so far been invested in development of the area.

Belfast Telegraph