Belfast Telegraph

Hotel plan for new building close to Primark fire site in Belfast

Artist’s impression of new building to replace Norwich Union House
Artist’s impression of new building to replace Norwich Union House
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

A Belfast city centre office building that also houses a number of independent retailers on Castle Street is to be demolished and replaced with a six-storey hotel and office development.

The plans for Norwich Union House, which occupies part of Castle Street and Fountain Street, are being brought forward by ES NUH Ltd, a development company associated with McAleer and Rushe.

The building will have 113,000sq ft of office space, a 174-room hotel and retail space on the ground floor.

A public event showcasing the plans will take place on April 11, running from 1pm to 7pm, in the performance space of the Linen Hall Library.

ES NUH Ltd said the proposed development would create up to 400 jobs during construction, as well as 1,500 permanent jobs, and generate around £1m in business rates when complete.

Stephen Surphlis of ES NUH Ltd said: "We are very excited that this project will bring significant investment to this part of the city centre. We are looking forward to unlocking the potential of an area of the city that has suffered commercially as a result of the fire at Primark.

"We believe that this project represents an excellent opportunity to revitalise not just this site, but that our plans will make a major contribution to the broader regeneration of the area.

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"Ultimately, this will help us to deliver a scheme that can provide the maximum benefit for new and indigenous businesses on a key city centre site."

The plans will come as a further blow to traders in Castle Street who have lost business since the Primark fire.

Two retailers told the Belfast Telegraph earlier this year they expected to vacate the premises in the summer.

Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Compsite showing the fire from 11:06 am to 4:35 pm Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.
The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service are attending an incident in Belfast city centre.
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)
Firefighters deal with a major blaze at Primark in Belfast on August 28th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

James Neilly, owner of Pizza Boutique, said the Bank Buildings fire "really set the clock back to day one" for his business.

He added: "We are preparing for problems ahead. The developer wants us out and we're kind of saying 'thanks'. We have to look for another location and we won't be alone in doing that. Others will be looking for similar properties and Belfast city centre doesn't have good pickings."

Chris Scott, owner of Cafe West on Castle Street, was forced to close a second cafe on Fountain Street after the fire.

Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial views showing the aftermath of the fire in the Bank Buildings - Primark Belfast - August 29th 2018 (Photo by Kevin Scott)
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..
Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire. Photo by Gregory Weeks.
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..
Photo by Gregory Weeks. Aerial view over Bank Buildings following Tuesdays fire..

He said: "We need to be out of this building as soon as possible because there is no certainty around the business."

John Davison, director at planning and development consultancy Turley, said the developers were "keen to engage with city stakeholders at the upcoming public information event prior to submission of the planning application".

Belfast Telegraph

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