A long-awaited redevelopment of the former BHS shop in Belfast city centre has taken a major step forward amid fresh plans, it can be revealed.
The new owner of the site which sites on Castle Lane, Alterity, has now submitted early plans which would see the 70,000 sq ft site developed into a mixed-use building, including retail, leisure, and the creation of a rooftop area for food and drink.
According to Like Architects, the proposal is “multi-faceted and is comprised of both physical development and changes of use”.
“The physical development includes the re-cladding of the exterior of the building, the creation of a new central core access from Castle Arcade, as well as the demolition of the bridge link over Castle Arcade.”
The early plans would see the creation of a new access point to the upper floors and central core on Castle Arcade, demolition of part of the building over Castle Arcade and erection of a new oversail section at the junction of Castle Lane and Castle Arcade.
Meanwhile, a change of use could include a partial change of use of ground floor from storage to retail and change of use of all upper floors from retail and storage to a mixed use of assembly and leisure.
The site has been sitting empty since 2016, after the long-running UK high street chain entered administration.
Alterity Investments announced it had bought the building in March this year.
According to the latest design documents from Like Architects, the facade of the building could be overclad with a light-weight aluminium framed and a highly glazed facade”.
“Alterity is a local company and having predominantly invested in property throughout England and Scotland in recent years, we are delighted to be committing to this major investment into Belfast city centre,” Richard Faloon, commercial director of Alterity Investments, said earlier this year.
“We are confident about the retail sector’s ability to bounce back from the difficulties of the past year and this strategic acquisition adds to the existing holdings the company already has in the Castle Lane and Cornmarket area.”
Commercial property agent Frazer Kidd has been retained as commercial agent for the property.
As part of its proposed redevelopment of the building, Alterity sasys it also intends to work closely with Belfast City Council to rejuvenate Castle Arcade, a small passageway between Castle Lane and High Street, as part of its ongoing Entries Project.