£4.5m plan to turn historic Belfast building into apartments
Developers have launched plans for the £4.5m redevelopment of a listed Georgian townhouse in Belfast with a vow to reflect its architecture and history.
Wilton House at College Square North will be turned into eight apartments as part of the plan by the newly-established Wilton Group.
The scheme has been designed by RPP Architects, which previously worked on turning the nineteenth century Ormeau Bakery on Ormeau Road in Belfast into high-end apartments.
Wilton Group is a partnership between Daniel Jackson, of high-end property developers Cornerstone, and Ciaran Toman, of property company Informed Percent.
Wilton House, which has been empty since 2012, was the former headquarters of the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) as well as the Centre for Deaf people for over 100 years.
It is home to an Ulster History Circle remembering Francis Maginn, a pioneer for the rights and education of deaf people.
Wilton House is part of a terrace dating back to around the 1820s. It's close to the home of the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society at its offices in the Old Museum Building.
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Wilton House was also the location of the Hotel Metropole from around 1894 to 1906, when the Adult Deaf and Dumb Organisation opened a mission hall inside.
Mr Jackson, managing director at Cornerstone, said its development plans would bring a "sustainable future" for the building.
"We believe that this project will be transformative, not just for Wilton House but also for this historic area of the city," he said.
"Working with listed buildings can present an interesting challenge. We want to respect and retain its history and at the same time bring it back into use as a place to live.
"We are confident that this scheme, which has been sensitively designed by RPP Architects, rises to that challenge and will allow us to breathe new life into this piece of Belfast's history.
"Too many of our heritage buildings are at risk. Our plans will allow this listed building to be retained but also revived to create new homes in an ideal location, at the heart of Belfast city centre."
He said the project would help in the bid to get more people living in the city centre.