£400m redevelopment masterplan for old Sirocco Works site recommended for approval by planners

A computer-generated image of what the former Sirocco Works site could look like after the 400m regeneration project. Image: Henning Larsen
A computer-generated image of what the former Sirocco Works site could look like after the 400m regeneration project. Image: Henning Larsen
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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.

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

A computer-generated image of what the former Sirocco Works site could look like after the 400m regeneration project. Image: Henning Larsen

A computer-generated image of what the former Sirocco Works site could look like after the 400m regeneration project. Image: Henning Larsen

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.

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 through a bridge improvement.

It builds upon Belfast City Council’s previous approval of a 13-storey, 250,000 sq/ftt 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, commented: “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. We see The Waterside delivering an exemplar of shared and mixed housing that provides a sense of place and community for all.

"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 alone will create more than 1000 jobs. Approval of the masterplan is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing our conversation with the people of Belfast across the city.”

Osborne+Co founding director, Conor Osborne added: “We see The Waterside as a tool to help drive workplace and cultural evolution in Belfast. By bringing global benchmarks for ‘best in class’ property development, the city is establishing itself as an internationally attractive investment destination.

"We can attract multinational businesses to Belfast who are seeking the highest quality work environments and talent. The success of this application would send out a powerful signal that Belfast is open for business and ready to succeed on a global scale. It would reinforce the message that Belfast can deliver large, innovative projects that will transform the life of the city and its citizens. We are pleased by the council’s planning officer’s recommendation and the engagement from the planning authority and statutory consultees. Ultimately we all share the same goal of producing a better Belfast.”

The 16-acre site, that has been vacant for a number of years and holds an important place in Belfast’s industrial past, will be transformed. When complete, the derelict site will become a world-class destination for 21st century working, living and entertainment.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the coming months under guidance of Osborne+Co’s Construction Director Flan McNamara, formerly Project Director on the £2BN London Bridge Quarter (& The Shard).