Plans for a new 19-storey apartment block just south of the Lagan Bridge in east central Belfast have been approved at City Hall.
The build-to-rent development, which is to be known as “The Residence,” will comprise of 10 studios, 51 one-bedroom and 90 two-bedroom apartments overlooking the River Lagan and the Titanic Quarter.
It will be an L-shaped building with two interlocking blocks of red brick.
The £25 million residential development by Vinder Capital and Aldgate Developments will transform a car park site on Scrabo Street, opposite the existing Quay Gate House, and beside Station Street leading to the Odyssey and SSE Arena.
The apartments comprise a mix of one-bedroom and two-bedroom units with a balcony attached to each. The ground floor comprises a management suite/reception area, entrance and internal amenity space area, gym, cycle parking, bin store, and various plant rooms.
There will also be associated car parking adjacent to the building and below the adjacent railway bridge, and public realm improvements to Scrabo Street, Station Street and Middlepath Street.
At Tuesday evening’s Belfast Council Planning Committee meeting, eleven councillors voted for the application. Two councillors, from the People Before Profit Party and the Green Party, voted against, while another Green councillor abstained.
Green Councillor Aine Groogan said the proposed building would be “pretty dominant.”
She added: “This is right beside a lot of busy roads. Residents are looking out at a railway bridge, car parking, and the M3 slip road. That does not strike me as an appropriate outlook.
“The layout of the buildings seem to be maximising space, and there is no residential amenity in terms of outlook. I wonder how appropriate the positioning of this building is for residential use.”
A council planning officer replied: “We consider on balance this provides an acceptable residential environment. It is quite close to the city centre, and the public realm improvements will improve the quality of the residential environment. It is close to an existing office, but we think on balance that is an acceptable relationship.”
One objection regarding the height of the proposed building was received by the council, and one letter of support. No statutory consultees had any objections to the plan.
Gavin McEvoy from Vinder Capital welcomed the news that the scheme had been granted approval.
He said: “We are delighted to have received planning permission for this exciting development. Our plans provide the opportunity to develop a premium scheme with well managed homes, creating new sustainable communities in an area close to the heart of Belfast city centre.
“The build-to-rent model has proven to be a success in other major cities throughout the UK and ‘The Residence’ provides an exciting opportunity to expand the build-to-rent sector in Belfast.”
Commercial agent for the scheme Neal Morrison of Savills Belfast added: “The design, specification and premium location of this scheme all make it something special and new for Belfast and it is great news for the city – helping to promote high quality inner city living, in line with the council’s target of growing the population of the city to 66,000 by 2035.”
It is hoped that work on the site will get underway in 2021.