Belfast Telegraph

£400m 'master plan' proposals for Belfast's Sirocco site

Consortium's plans include 450 apartments and a creative hub

Artists’ impression of how the £400m scheme would look when completed
Artists’ impression of how the £400m scheme would look when completed
Artists’ impression of how the £400m scheme would look when completed
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The developers of the Sirocco site in Belfast have revealed they'll build 450 apartments and a creative hub if their 'master plan' gets the go-ahead.

The wasteland would be transformed into 'Belfast Waterside' as part of the £400m master plan by consortium Vanguard Real Estate, made up of two firms based in England and another based in Abu Dhabi.

And the one, two and three-bed apartments would be just the first phase of residential development to bring up to 750 new homes, including social housing and affordable homes.

The developers are also planning a 7,000 square metre building at the heart of the site which it says will support "a vibrant digital and creative community".

Vanguard describes the building as a "plug and play" space which "adapts to the characteristics and needs of the users inside".

The proposals will now be put to a 12-week community consultation before the submission of further planning applications.

Chris Kane, chairman of Vanguard Real Estate, said: "Following more than a year of consultation with the community, local elected representatives and Belfast City Council we are now submitting our master plan application.

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"We have an ambitious placemaking strategy, not just to create new office and living space, but to harness the site's pivotal position and reconnect the city and people of Belfast with the River Lagan that runs through its heart."

The consortium's master plan comes after it applied for permission to build a 25,000 square metre grade A office building in February.

A proposal of application notice (PAN) for the residential and creative hub scheme has been sent to Belfast City Council, marking the beginning of a 12-week pre-application community consultation.

Vanguard is made up of Gulf Resources Development & Investment (GRDI) - based in Abu Dhabi - Graftongate Developments in Birmingham, and The Corbally Group in Henley-in-Arden.

And they also plan a new bridge and a 'climate-sensitive' design.

Mr Kane said the new homes would bring "an important mix of tenures" with social housing and affordable homes.

And overall, the master plan would have "a vibrant combination of office, hotel, retail and cultural uses".

"Significantly, our master plan will deliver a new bridge to connect the city core with this emerging city destination, and the east of the city."

And he said the appointment of Danish architect Henning Larsen would "bring a Nordic understanding of outdoor living to Belfast".

"They have carefully considered how to position and design buildings that can manage the micro-climate next to the river, to create spaces within the site that are comfortable for use all year around."

The community consultation will be led by planning consultants Turley.

The Belfast Telegraph first revealed the sale of the historic Sirocco site between the Short Strand and Bridge End to St Francis Group - which is linked to Corbally Group - in November 2016.

Sirocco Quays is located between the Short Strand and Bridge End.

The sprawling industrial site has been sitting largely disused for years after the firm due to develop it in earlier plans went under.

Belfast Telegraph