Belfast Telegraph

KFC tycoon's fresh bid for apartment block near Belfast City Airport

By Ryan McAleer

One of the richest people in Northern Ireland has relaunched a bid for a residential complex next to George Best Belfast City Airport.

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Fast food tycoon Michael Herbert, who controls one of the largest KFC franchises in Europe, has resubmitted a planning application for 90 apartments in Knocknagoney in the east of the city.

The new application, submitted by HB Building Services, a company acquired by Mr Herbert in 2015, is a downsized version of the 104 flats previously approved 12 months ago for the Parklands scheme.

The site was put on the market in February 2018 with an asking price of £3.95m.

However, Mr Herbert has retained ownership and looks set to proceed with a slightly altered plan.

The application seeks to demolish a vacant apartment block on the site that dates back to the 1960s.

The new development proposes a mixture of apartments over four storeys, made up of 13 one-bed, 12 two-bed, two three-bed and three single-bed studios.

Construction specialist CIS Ireland has valued the project at an estimated £8.7m. A pre-application community consultation has already been carried out in respect of the smaller scheme.

With two larger applications previously approved for the site, it's expected that the updated Parklands proposal will have little difficulty in securing the green light from Belfast City Council.

The application, which was submitted last month, was one of two major residential apartment schemes launched by Mr Herbert during December.

Another company controlled by the developer, Kirk Bryson and Co, has submitted a separate proposal for a new apartment scheme in Belfast city centre. It similarly seeks the demolition of an older building, Westgate House on Queen's Street.

The bid proposes a new four-storey block comprising 54 apartments, including ground-floor retail.

Westgate House was acquired by Kirk Bryson and Co two years ago.

Mr Herbert is also understood to be involved in the development of new luxury homes near Stormont. Work is scheduled to get under way on the Lesley Grange and Rose Park residential projects.

Meanwhile, construction could soon start on a two-storey McDonald's restaurant next to the Parklands site.

Council planning officials have already recommended approval of the application.

The report was expected to be formally adopted by the city council's planning committee last night.

The bid, which could create up to 65 jobs, will see the fast food giant building a new 500 sq m outlet and drive-thru at the Tesco car park on Knocknagoney Road.

Belfast Telegraph