Belfast Telegraph

Belfast's listed Assembly Rooms could become hotel in £500m revamp

The Assembly Rooms building is part of the £500m Tribeca proposal
The Assembly Rooms building is part of the £500m Tribeca proposal

By John Mulgrew

A listed Belfast building could become a new hotel and restaurant as part of wider plans for a £500m revamp of the city centre.

Tribeca Belfast, formerly Royal Exchange, will see UK developer Castlebrooke redevelop much of the north side of the city centre.

It's made a number of amendments and changes to the development, most notably revising back from a formerly retail-led scheme to one with fewer shops.

As part of the revised plans it wants to turn the listed former Assembly Rooms building at the corner of North Street and Waring Street into a new 50-bedroom hotel, with a restaurant and bars.

That would involve knocking down part of the newer extension to the building, including the rear part of the former Northern Bank and the adjacent 7-9 North Street to "accommodate the new extension to form the proposed boutique hotel".

"The proposals for the existing building are similar in scope to that which was included as part of the extant approval. It is proposed to conservatively repair the existing historic fabric of the former Northern Bank," a design statement says.

"A key feature of the proposed extension is that the interface with the rear (north) elevation of the existing listed bank building will be improved by setting back the footprint of the proposed extension so that the north west corner of the original building is readable."

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The scheme includes the re-use and adaptation of the existing building as well as an extension on the footprint of the existing 1950s extension on North Street.

The extension will be set over five floors, with a rooftop bar, while upper floors are set back with metal cladding to the facades to "reduce the overall massing of the building and reflect the roofing materials or upper storey treatment of surrounding buildings".

Tribeca Belfast includes development around Royal Avenue, Donegall Street, North Street, Garfield Street and High Street.

Castlebrooke Investments says it is now committed to bringing North Street Arcade back into use in a new format, with space designed for independent retailers.

This summer the developer ran a fresh public consultation amid revised plans for the scheme, which included significantly reducing a huge 27-storey building to around 10, retaining additional facades and dropping plans for an underground car park.

During the summer, Neil Young, chief executive of Castlebrooke Investments, said: "We are very pleased to be able to reveal our proposed amendments to our outline planning application for Tribeca Belfast, changes which we feel demonstrate that we have listened to feedback from the city."

Belfast Telegraph