One of Belfast’s most striking features is its beautifully laid out city centre.
The City Hall is surrounded by grand buildings, such as the Scottish Provident property on Donegall Square West, and the Linen Hall library on Donegall Square North.
From this central core there is a grid of inter-connecting roads such as Bedford Street, with its Ulster Hall, and May Street, with its 1829 church, and Wellington Place, that leads to the 1810 Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
This glorious city centre, which survived the 1941 Nazi blit and the terrorist bombings of the Troubles, is a thriving business and shopping area, the retail aspect complemented by Castlecourt in 1990 and then Victoria Square in 2008. The latter opened just as the financial crisis was smashing into the global markets, yet it has been a success.
The News Letter has been reporting on these various buildings and developments for 280 years, including a report in 1739 on plans for the first Linen Hall in Ann Street.
Nearly three centuries on, the centre of Northern Ireland’s capital still thrives. The fine Robinson and Cleaver building on Donegall Place has now sold for £16 million (see link below).
Not long ago Castlecourt sold for £125 million. A £10m Inland Revenue headquarters is being built on Chichester Street.
Amid political stalemate and ongoing economic uncertainty, it is a pleasure to read of this ongoing confidence in the heart of Belfast, which locals and visitors seem to love.