Potential sale of Dunluce Centre site in Portrush could reap ‘huge benefits’ for tourism

Dunluce Centre in Portrush
Dunluce Centre in Portrush

It was once one of the top tourist draws on the north coast, with its thrilling turbo tours ride attracting families from all over the Province.

The Dunluce Centre - located on a gateway site in Portrush - opened to much fanfare in 1993 and remained a popular venue for almost two decades.

But after a sharp decline in visitor numbers, the once-bustling attraction was forced to close its doors permanently in 2013.

The derelict building and its lands are now up for sale, and hopes are high that new investment in the site could provide a major tourism boost for the popular seaside town and surrounding area.

Potential buyers have until Monday to submit expressions of interest for the site, which is for sale on the open market with a guide price of £910,000 - less than a third of the estimated £3.3m it cost to build the ill-fated facility.

Norman Hillis, a Portrush businessman and Ulster Unionist councillor told the News Letter that securing “the right investor” could bring huge benefits to the tourist industry on the north coast.

“The site is probably worth more than £910,000, but we need to ensure we get the right person to invest,” he added.

“Of course we could flog it to someone who wanted to build a supermarket or apartment, but we feel that whatever succeeds the Dunluce Centre must be linked to tourism and recreation,” he added.

“This is a key site, as it is one of the first things visitors see on their way into the town. It is a terrible waste that the building has sat empty for so long.

“I am excited to see where things go from here. It is my hope that we will be left with something that enhances the already excellent tourism package we have along the north coast, as well as providing a boost for the local economy and benefit residents.”

Following closure in 2013, the Dunluce Centre is believed to have continued to cost the local authority around £40,000 a year to maintain.

The advert on the property website explains the centre is “ideal for a range of potential purchasers”, adding: “The owners seek to have the property fully utilised to ensure the future viability and utility of the complex and wider area for both local residents and visitors.