Belfast Telegraph

Plans to be put forward for £25m Belfast city living scheme

Artist’s impression of The Residence
Artist’s impression of The Residence
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

Proposals for a £25m "build-to-rent" development in east Belfast will be submitted this autumn.

The plans, put forward by a partnership between Vinder Capital and Aldgate Developments, will include the building of a 151-unit apartment complex on Scrabo Street south off the Lagan Bridge.

Called The Residence, the scheme has been created in response to the growing demand for major residential developments in the city said the partnership behind it.

It said it is responding to Belfast City Council's target to increase the number of people living in the city centre and grow the population to 66,000 by 2035.

The PRS development, designed by Like Architects, will transform land which is currently a car park site on Scrabo Street, sitting opposite the existing Quay Gate House south of the Lagan Bridge.

The complex will offer 151 units, comprising 10 studios, 51 one-bedroom and 90 two-bedroom apartments overlooking the River Lagan and surrounding Titanic Quarter.

Michael Martin of Like Architects said the scheme will put Belfast on a level with other major UK cities which have similar build-to-rent properties.

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Mr Martin said: “Like Architects is delighted to design this premium suite of apartments for Belfast city centre.

“The Residence apartments will be on par with the high-class qualities associated with build-to-rent properties in other major UK cities.

“Each apartment will be cleverly designed to cater to the metropolitan lifestyle of its residents, with the building also featuring a dedicated relaxation area, state-of-the-art gym, as well as workspaces and meeting rooms.”

Subject to planning approval, construction on The Residence apartments will begin in summer 2020.

And following a successful statutory pre-application community consultation in early 2018, the joint venture will be running a second voluntary public exhibition next Tuesday, September 10 at the Hilton Belfast, to further discuss its proposals with the public.

Michael Gordon, head of Northern Ireland planning with the project’s planning consultants Turley, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this exciting proposal in bringing greater residential living spaces to Belfast City Centre. The additional voluntary public exhibition will provide the community with an extra opportunity to contribute to the refinement of the development’s plans prior to submission.

“These much-needed apartments will be a positive step forward in positioning the city centre as an attractive place to live and contributing to the council’s city centre growth ambitions.”

Build-to-rent apartments are rental only, with secure long-term tenancies from a landlord who retains ownership.

Earlier in the year, Gavin McEvoy from the joint venture, said: “Build-to-rent is an exciting opportunity to introduce premium services and a customer focus to apartment living which is not typically found in build-for-sale apartments in the Belfast market.

“Having assessed the model in other major cities in the UK with our high-class design and delivery team, we believe there is an exciting opportunity to use our knowledge of the local property market to apply the model in a Belfast context.

“Build-to-Rent is an exciting progression from the major investment that has been made in Belfast in the student accommodation sector that fills a growing need for city centre living in Belfast.

“Our plans will deliver a cleverly-designed, premium scheme which will deliver well managed homes and create new, sustainable communities in an area of the city centre close to the river, with easy access to transport links.”

The Residence is the second build-to-rent scheme announced here.

Holywood firm Lacuna and Welsh developer Watkin Jones revealed its plans for a 60 two-bed and 30 one-bed apartment scheme in the Cathedral Quarter.

According to a recent report by The HomeLet rental index NI landlords have benefited from a 4.7% increase in Northern Ireland rents in June 2019 compared to June 2018.

The Residence exhibition is at the Hilton Belfast on September 10 from 4pm to 6pm.

Belfast Telegraph