Co-op building razed to make way for university's new campus
One of Belfast's landmark buildings has been demolished to make way for a major expansion of the University of Ulster.
The Interpoint building in the city centre – which used to house the Co-op department store – has largely been razed to the ground as part of the new £250m campus.
It is the end of an era for the building, which was constructed in 1888. In 1910, the Co-operative society bought and converted the former Gallaher's tobacco factory at York Street into its flagship store.
The building survived a bomb attack in 1972, when an explosion and fire injured 25 people and caused around £10m worth of damage.
It is also where many of the peace talks leading up to the Good Friday Agreement took place.
It is believed that construction of the new campus is scheduled for completion in 2018 and will house more than 15,000 students and staff.
It will replace the aging Jordanstown campus.
Jordanstown is currently the largest of the four universities' campuses with 13,200 students and 1,700 staff. Currently, there are 1,200 students and 300 staff based at the Belfast campus in the Cathedral Quarter.
The site will house a nine-storey building to be home to the Centre for Sustainable Technologies, student hub spaces, workshop, studio and office space, and the main sculpture and painting studios.
It is understood that the design of the new buildings will be red brick and glass to reflect the pattern of buildings on Royal Avenue.
The university is aiming to complete phase one of construction within the next two years.