Belfast yard used by NI builder H&J Martin for 140 years to be social housing site
The H&J Martin builders yard on Belfast's Ormeau Road is to be turned into a new social housing scheme.
The site, home to the well-known firm for the last 140 years, will become Brickworks, a scheme of seven townhouses and 35 apartments.
Clonrose Developments has signed an agreement with Choice Housing Ireland to deliver the project.
H&J Martin will carry out construction.
Founded in 1840, the company established itself on the site in 1879, growing into the largest brick manufacturer in Ireland.
Among its contributions to our built heritage are Belfast City Hall, the Grand Opera House and Ulster Museum.
The firm has been part of the Lagan Specialist Contracting Group owned by Michael Lagan and his family since 2015. Clonrose Developments is also linked to Lagan SCG.
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The Brickworks development will produce 32 general needs apartments, as well as three wheelchair-accessible flats, arranged around a central courtyard.
The name draws on the area's rich history. It was home to seven large operations at the turn of the 20th century, including the Annadale Brickworks, JF Newell Brickworks and the Prestige Brickworks which, combined and at their peak, produced over 120,000 units per day of the famous Belfast brick.
Stephen Davey of Clonrose Developments said the social housing project will use many of the salvaged bricks from the old builders yard in feature walls and pillars throughout as a nod to the local heritage.
"We are thrilled to enter into this partnership with both Choice and H&J Martin to deliver what will be a unique development in this prominent location," he said.
"We have no doubt it will exceed both Choice and their tenants' expectations in terms of design quality and finish.
"It felt appropriate that H&J Martin should be the construction partner to deliver this scheme for us given this was their historic home for so many years."
H&J Martin's Gareth Moore agreed: "H&J Martin was once the major employer in the Ormeau area.
"Having also constructed the Holylands and Sunnyside areas, it is fitting that, as H&J Martin departs from our home on the Ormeau Road, we leave a final lasting legacy for the people there with the construction of a high-quality social housing scheme."
Choice's Michael McDonnell added: "This design and build partnership with Clonrose Developments and H&J Martin is testament to our ongoing commitment to addressing the need for quality social housing across Northern Ireland.
"Developing these partnerships is a key element of meeting the growing need. There is a high demand across Belfast and when sites like this one become available it is imperative that social housing is a high priority.
"The location of this development will ensure tenants can avail of top-quality housing with many local amenities on their doorstep."