£400m redevelopment a step closer

A computer-generated image of how The Waterside development might look. Image: Henning Larsen
A computer-generated image of how The Waterside development might look. Image: Henning Larsen

A £400m masterplan to regenerate the 1.7 million sq/ft former Sirocco Works site in Belfast has been recommended for approval by planning officers at Belfast City Council.

An outline application relating to ‘The Waterside’ project will be decided next Thursday by the council’s planning committee.

The project will involve the development of office space for around 8,000 jobs, approximately 675 residential apartments, a hotel, serviced apartments and creative working spaces.

The 16-acre site in the east of the city has been vacant for a number of years and holds an important place in Belfast’s industrial past.

According to the Irish-owned company behind the ambitious plan, Osborne+Co, it “reimagines the former industrial site as a new thriving hub of Belfast”.

The masterplan includes plans for community, cultural and leisure facilities such as cafes, bars, a gym, restaurants and local retail, as well as proposals to enhance pedestrian and cycle connections across the River Lagan.

It builds upon Belfast City Council’s previous approval of a 13-storey, 250,000 sq/ft office space last August, which will be operational by 2021.

Conceived by world renowned architects, Henning Larsen, The Waterside masterplan was the winner of the Future Projects Urban Design Award at the World Architecture News Awards.

Chris Kane, chairman of Osborne+Co, said: “The Waterside has the potential to make a profound difference to Belfast. We want to create new opportunities for local employment and skills development. We are creating a new place to eat, live, relax and connect by growing new relationships with the existing community and developing a new vibrant residential community in the heart of the city, with a mix of affordable and social, private for sale, and private rental homes.

“With a project of this scale it is important that we continue to communicate the enormous benefits that The Waterside can bring, not just to the local area, but to Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole.”

Construction is scheduled to get under way in the coming months and is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs.