New eatery for landmark building in south Belfast
A new restaurant is due to open in south Belfast after property developer Gary McCausland secured a tenant for The Gallery complex.
Details of the eatery remain under wraps but Mr McCausland said plans are well under way and he expects it to open by the end of the year.
The two-floor restaurant has been empty since February last year.
It was originally claimed it was a temporary measure to allow minor works to be carried out ahead of a new franchise taking over.
However, the space was subsequently advertised for lease by Savills and Lisney and in June last year Mr McCausland said there were offers from four different parties.
He was optimistic at the time that the restaurant could reopen by September.
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"Someone will be taking over The Gallery soon," he said.
"It'll be an exciting tenant and it will add a lot of value to the building and the Dublin Road."
Despite this, the restaurant remained closed but Mr McCausland said a 10-year lease was signed with the new tenant in May.
"It's a new and exciting restaurant for Belfast," he said.
"The tenants are in the process of compiling designs and plans for the project, but that's all I can say about the new tenants at the moment.
"I am really pleased they have signed the lease as it has been a challenging period, but most of all I am excited to see the restaurant opening and I'm looking forward to eating in it."
The planned restaurant is part of The Gallery apartment development, which is worth more than £8m and claims to offer New York/Tokyo-inspired living.
The scheme is made up of 58 one and two-bedroom luxury apartments on the outskirts of Belfast city centre, with many looking out over the busy Dublin Road.
The complex is so-called because world-renowned artists and famous poets, including William Conor and Paul Henry, have lived and worked in the area.
Public and common spaces within the development showcase original art from the new wave of talent coming through the Ulster University's Art School.
News of the new restaurant is the latest boost for the area, coming after it emerged a £7m plan for 71 new apartments on the Dublin Road is moving forward. Developer John Smyth's Estates has formally submitted an application for the 10-storey project.
The development would also include a new ground floor restaurant.
If approved, the structure will sit next to the The Gallery.