Video: 3D tour of planned Belfast Waterfront Hall extension
A £29.5 million extension to Belfast's Waterfront Hall was officially given the green light by planners today.
The development will double the size of the existing conference and exhibition facilities at the hall and offer an additional 4,000m² of conference, exhibition and banqueting space plus a 2000m² major hall and a minor hall of 750m².
Around 400 jobs will be created as the extension is built and dozens more after the complex opens.
Belfast City Council says the extension will contribute up to £39 million towards the local economy each year and help the city tap into the growing business tourism market.
It is expected the new building will be completed by early 2016 with the first major conference already pencilled in for late spring 2016.
Announcing the decision today, Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said: “This will be a real boost for Belfast. We already host major worldwide conferences. We can now build on that.
“This extension to Belfast Waterfront will provide Belfast with an integrated conference/convention centre in the heart of the city.
“These state of the art facilities will make Belfast one of the premium destinations for national and international conferences and will boost the development of business tourism in Belfast and act as a catalyst for wider economic growth across the city.”
He added: “This planning application reflects my commitment to making planning approvals as quickly as possible, creating a better environment and a stronger economy. This decision will help that.”
Lord Mayor of Belfast Nichola Mallon said: “By doubling the existing convention and exhibition space at Belfast Waterfront, we can build upon what is already a huge growth area for our economy and showcase Belfast as a destination of choice for conference organisers and delegates.”
The additional facilities will be integrated within the existing building and located at the rear of the current venue, extending onto the walkway adjacent to the Hilton Hotel. The Waterfront Hall complex will continue to operate as usual during the construction period.
Funding for the extension is being provided by the European Regional Development Fund (£14.5million), under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland, and administered by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, which is also contributing £4million.
Belfast City Council has committed the remaining £11million under its £150million Investment Programme, which has already delivered over £85million of improvements across the city.
* 3D Fly-through shows outside and inside of new complex and how it integrates into existing Waterfront Hall.
Credit for 3D Fly-through: Belfast City Council
Belfast Telegraph Digital