Lidl plans new £8m east Belfast store to replace existing one
German discount supermarket Lidl has announced plans to build an £8m store at the former Hughes Christensen site in east Belfast.
A total of 210 jobs were lost at the Castlereagh drill-bit factory in 2010 after its owner Baker Hughes made the decision to shut the plant after 55 years.
Lidl, led by Conor Boyle in Northern Ireland, already operates a store at the junction of Castlereagh and Montgomery Roads.
But that site is to close, with a new larger 'concept' store on the nearby vacant site.
Draperstown building firm Heron Bros, which owns the site, is understood to be consulting on plans for a mixed use regeneration scheme.
It would include the creation of a variety of new commercial units and a new access from Montgomery Road and Castlereagh Road. Lynas Foods is among the firms already operating on the site.
But much of the former factory grounds have remained empty since 2010.
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Lidl has confirmed that its existing store on Montgomery Road will make way for the new supermarket.
Built almost 20 years ago, it was one of Lidl's first stores here.
Subject to planning permission, Lidl will introduce its new concept store approach to Castlereagh with a 23,000 sq ft building. Some 15,200 sq ft will be allocated for floor space.
A spokesman said: "We're delighted to be proposing a new store at Montgomery Road with a significant investment that will provide for the creation of a new and spacious modern store that is energy efficient and which will incorporate a range of sustainability strategies which builds on our commitment to environmental improvement."
A public consultation event will take place at the existing Lidl store on Montgomery Road between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday, July 4.
The plans come just a week after Lidl announced it will seek to occupy a large unit at the Holywood Exchange retail park, close to Belfast City Airport in a £2.6m investment.
The vacant 21,500 sq ft unit is next to IKEA and Harvey Norman, and was previously occupied by Wrights Sofa Land. Lidl has said the move will create some 26 jobs.
In March the chain opened up a new store at The Junction retail complex in Antrim.
The same month it was granted planning permission to build a new foodstore in Newcastle to replace its existing premises.