An ambitious £50million redevelopment for Bangor which has been discussed for more than 20 years has taken a step forward.
Bangor Marine Ltd has submitted a comprehensive planning application for the development site located at Queen's Parade and Marine Gardens in the Co Down town.
Bangor Marine is a group of firms led by well-known developers the Karl Group, the original developers of the landmark Obel tower in Belfast, and construction and civil engineering firm Farrans.
The scheme includes an events space, cafes, a sheltered promenade, kiosks, a children's play area, a hotel and a cinema.
Deirdre Hargey, the Minister for Communities, said the application was "a huge step in the right direction for the redevelopment of Bangor's town centre".
She said the investment would create "much-needed jobs, shops, offices and homes and will create an attractive place for people to visit".
"It is a genuinely exciting time for Bangor, breathing life and vitality back into the heart of the town," the minister added.
"Now that the developer has submitted the planning application, I am encouraging everyone in Bangor to get involved, share their ideas and make their voices heard in the consultation."
The plan also includes residential units, commercial, retail and restaurant space and offices.
Aran Blackbourne, director of Bangor Marine Ltd, said: "We are delighted to submit our exciting plans for the transformation of Queen's Parade and Marine Gardens in Bangor.
"Bangor Marine is committed to progressing this application through to conclusion and hopes to begin work on these exciting plans as soon as possible."
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the application was welcome news.
"The redevelopment of Queen's Parade is long overdue and this new application has the potential for much-needed regeneration and the economic renewal of the town," he added.
"Attracting new independent retailers for this location will be critical to its success."
Last year Mr Blackbourne was asked if hospitality company Beannchor Group, which started in Bangor, could get involved with the development. Mr Blackbourne said at the time: "There could be a potential opportunity and we are always in touch with them (the authorities)."
Beannchor owns the Merchant and Bullitt hotels in Belfast, as well as Little Wing pizzerias and a string of pubs.
Plans for the redevelopment of Bangor town centre were mooted as far back as 1997.