The Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland opened the new £5 million social housing development, following|renovation of the building|from school to modern family|apartments.
The former Mersey Street Primary School, which closed in 2006, has been transformed by Connswater Homes into 30 modern, state of the art family|apartments with former pupils of the much loved school among the new residents.
Its listed building status means that much of the original building, including the facade, has remained intact, whilst sympathetic remodelling of the classrooms has provided the new accommodation.
Mr McCausland said: “This really is an impressive development and good news for the people of east Belfast.
“Not only does this innovative project provide much needed new housing in an area of high housing need, but it rescues a much loved historic building of local importance.”
“Too often unused buildings if left too long can blight a community. However, imaginative thinking here has provided new opportunities and very real benefits for local people.”
The one and two bedroom apartments have been built to high levels of sustainability, with energy efficiency and quality of construction a top priority.
“All were also designed with advice from the PSNI Crime Prevention Design Advisor, to ensure residents feel safe and secure.
The Minister met Mrs Ellie Honeyford who showed him around her new home.
Afterwards he said: “Connswater Homes and the Housing Executive are to be congratulated for recognising the potential to do something different on this site.
“The school provided 80 years of service to the community.
“I am pleased that funding from my department has allowed that community benefit to |continue.”