Controversial Tribeca Belfast regeneration project proceeds to next phase despite objections

  • The next phase of the £500m Tribeca Belfast regeneration scheme has been recommended for planning approval despite over 400 letters of opposition.

    Back at the end of 2018, Castlebrooke Investments revealed its ambitious plan to completely regenerate Belfast's cathedral quarter with an investment of £500m to create 1,500,000 sq ft of prime residential and grade A office space. The plan included an office building designed to international headquarter office standards and luxury apartments in the heart of Belfast, but it immediately saw objections.

    The regeneration project was to rename the area to Tribeca Belfast as a nod to New York's Tribeca area and the area's central location next to St Anne’s Cathedral, a move that was officially opposed by Belfast City Council in January last year. Public opposition groups such as Save the Cathedral Quarter also objected to the fact that around 21 historic buildings would have to be demolished.

    Castlebrooke held since held a voluntary 10-week public consultation to gather feedback and amended its plan to counteract objections from locals. The new plans included a redevelopment of the North Street Arcade, plans to retain more of the area's historic streets, and the reduction in height of planned office buildings from 27 stories to 10 in order to maintain the skyline. Other changes include removing an underground parking garage and scaling back plans for a major retail store.

    The modified plans gained the support of Belfast Chamber but still received over 400 letters of objection from interested parties and only five formal letters of support. It looks like is continuing despite these objections, as the latest phase of the project has now been recommended for approval by Belfast City Council's planning committee.

    Save the Cathedral Quarter's acting chairperson Agustina Martire was disappointed with the result, but noted that "Castlebrooke haven't done much or gone forward yet with bits of the project that have been approved for at least 18 months." The group raised concerns about the type of housing planned, the lack of space for the arts, and the demolition of historic buildings.

    The biggest positive aspects of the project include a significant boost to the local construction industry, creating up to 600 jobs per year during the construction period. It's also expected to help attract more major international companies to set up offices in Belfast, support the local tech industry as firms achieve growth targets and require larger premesis, and lead to around 1,600 new permanent jobs in the buildings themselves.

    Source: Belfast Telegraph

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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