Belfast Telegraph

New plan emerges of £400m Sirocco scheme

By John Mulgrew

A £400m development of Sirocco Quays in Belfast will include huge offices, apartments along with hotels and bars and restaurants, fresh plans show.

The ambitious scheme has taken another step forward with a move to submit an outline planning application.

New details, and an artist's impression, now show the huge project, based close to the Short Strand, will include 750 homes, office buildings covering 850,000 sq ft, hotel, serviced apartments, and a pedestrian and cycle bridge.

A £50m top-end office will become part of the overall scheme.

It will also add retail, community and cultural facilities, leisure, cafes, bars and restaurants.

James Osborne, one of the joint owners, said:

"This premium office development of around 25,000 sq m heralds our first step in delivering a new high-quality city-centre destination in which people will live, work and socialise in Belfast.

"This first-phase £50m office scheme will set a new benchmark for office space suitable for corporate occupiers."

In November last year, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the St Francis Group and a new company, Swinford (Sirocco) Limited, had bought the land.

A previous deal to acquire the site fell through after part of it was slapped with a Government conservation order.

Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen have been brought on-board to renew the masterplan for the Belfast waterside site.

Jacob Kurek, director of Henning Larsen, said:

"This site provides an opportunity to create a new piece of Belfast which enhances the liveability of the city centre and brings much needed vibrancy to the east bank of the river.

"The new plans respond to the feedback received and we believe these plans will create a fantastic addition to Belfast and make a significant contribution to the city’s ambitious targets for homes, growth and investment."

Now, developers are hosting a pre-application public event, before submitting an outline or hybrid planning application.

It's claimed when fully completed it could create 5,000 jobs.

Swinford agreed to buy the site in August 2016, with the deal being completed in January. The plans are being handled by Belfast firm Turley.

The developers are carrying out four public consultation events in Belfast next month.

The first is on December 4 at Short Strand Community Centre, followed by the Mount Business and Conference Centre on December 5.

Then, it will host the public at the Skainos Centre on the Newtownards Road on December 7, followed by the Hilton Hotel at Lanyon Place on December 8.

Speaking earlier this year when initial plans were unveiled, Philip Silk, director of Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd, said: "We are delighted to be starting the community consultation process and look forward to engaging with local communities and stakeholders and receiving feedback from them.

"This development represents a great opportunity for local communities and indeed for Belfast city.

"We have recognised the unmatched opportunity to extend and complement the traditional centre of Belfast and bring the opposite bank of the River Lagan back into the life of the city.

"This is a site of significant importance to the continuing regeneration of both the city centre and east Belfast and to the continued growth of Northern Ireland's economy."

The Sirocco plan would become one of the single largest developments in Belfast's recent history.

Elsewhere, the £400m Royal Exchange revamp of the city centre could include a 27-storey high-rise building as part of the ambitious scheme. Developer Castlebrooke has now submitted outline plans for the ambitious scheme, which include the redevelopment of a 12-acre site based around Royal Avenue.

Belfast Telegraph

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