Derelict Belfast bank set to become £5m apartment block
A derelict bank in south Belfast looks set to be demolished to make way for a new £5m residential and retail complex.
The three-storey former Ulster Bank building at the corner of Lisburn Road and Tates Avenue has been vacant for more than a decade.
Officials at Belfast City Council have now given the green light to Clear Rosemount's proposal to knock it down to make way for a new five-storey apartment building with three retail and cafe units.
The company's directors include Colin Johnston, who heads the Clear Healthcare pharmacy group.
The developers have said they expect that between 40 to 50 jobs will be created during the construction phase.
Mr Johnston is also involved in a bid to convert a former Northern Bank in Lurgan into a coffee shop.
The High Street building was better known in recent years as the premises of homegrown department store Houstons.
Lurganbridge Ltd, of which Mr Johnston is a director, has submitted an application to turn the ground floor of the building into a coffee shop.
Clear Rosemount's proposed development on the Lisburn Road involves the bank and a vacant site next door.
The site also stretches onto Ashley Avenue.
Planning permission was previously granted to Largie Developments in 2010 to build 45 apartments and three retail units on the site.
However, the company entered administration prior to planning approval being granted and was eventually dissolved in 2017.
The administrators initially put the site on the market with an £800,000 price tag, but it was not sold. It was once again marketed in late 2015 with a new guide price of £550,000.
It is understood that Clear Rosemount bought the site in mid-2016 for just over £600,000.
The developer's proposal includes half the number of apartments, spread over five levels. It will be broken down into 15 two-bedroom and eight single bedroom flats.
In its submission to the council, Clear Rosemount said: "We believe the application brings forward a modern and high quality mixed use retail, commercial and residential development at a key location in south Belfast."
Officials have described the 1960s era former bank building as being in a state of dereliction.
Recommending that the demolition and redevelopment go ahead, officials said the building makes no ma terial contribution to the character of the Lisburn Road.