Officials sign off on major Belfast city centre office development
A multi-million pound office and retail development next to Belfast's Smithfield Market that could bring up to 650 construction jobs has been given the go-ahead by planning officials.
Bywater Properties and Ashmour is the joint venture behind the major project on a 1.25 acre site between Gresham Street and Winetavern Street, close to Royal Avenue. The site is currently a car park.
It includes the refurbishment of the listed 'Butchers' building.
The first meeting of the new Belfast City Council planning committee next Tuesday will consider the report from planners, which has recommended approving the proposal.
It would see a mixture of buildings, varying between three and nine storeys, built on the site. The proposal includes basement level car parking, ground floor space for retail, restaurants, coffee shops or workspace uses, with the floors above largely comprising offices, capable of housing around 1,500 people.
The proposed 235,000 sq ft scheme is anchored by The Mill Building, a 115,000 sq ft office structure.
Patrick O'Gorman from Bywater Properties said: "We want to reinvigorate this part of the city into a vibrant, interconnected neighbourhood where independent retailers, coffee shops and local family businesses sit side-by-side with big international employers and their millennial workforce."
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In its conclusion, Belfast City Council's planning department said that after considering development plans, planning policy and the economic benefit, they considered that the proposed development was on balance "acceptable".