£400m Belfast regeneration project unveiled / by Broadway Malyan

A major scheme to regenerate a 16 acre site alongside the River Lagan in the heart of Belfast has been unveiled by Broadway Malyan.

The Sirocco Quays project will create a new ‘river-front district’ along nearly 300m of the Lagan with 69,000 sqm of contemporary office space, 815 new homes and a major leisure offer including a hotel, restaurants, cafes and local retail space.

The proposals will regenerate the former Sirocco Engineering Works on the edge of Belfast’s city centre and will also include a new footbridge across the Lagan, creating a dramatic new pedestrian access to the city from the east Bank

The project is being developed by Swinford (Sirroco) Ltd, a joint venture between St Francis Group, Graftongate and Gulf Resources Development and Investment (GRDI) with Broadway Malyan providing architecture, masterplanning and urban design. An outline application will be submitted later this year with detailed applications following shortly afterwards.

Hugo Fitzgerald, who is leading the project out of Broadway Malyan’s Birmingham studio, said the development hopes to bring a completely new offer to the city and will play a key part in reconnecting the communities on the east side of the Lagan to the Northern Irish capital.

He said: “Belfast has enjoyed a fantastic renaissance in recent years and this is a real vote of confidence from Swinford who plan to build on this with the creation of a high quality mixed use development that engages with the river and the wider city beyond.

“The vision for the site is to create a real sense of place with community, vibrancy and connection that comes from considered high quality urban planning, architecture and public realm. Through simply extending the existing city grid to the East Bank, the area will read as a new quarter within the city centre offering one of the most attractive areas of the city to live and work.

“The project will also play a vital role in reconnecting this disjoined part of the city via a new pedestrian footbridge, providing an attractive new route to the city centre for communities such as the Short Strand and Bridge End.”

Philip Silk, Director of Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd, added: “Sirocco Quays will establish new benchmarks for quality across the office and residential space, and bring the first truly international branded hotel to Belfast.

“We are creating new construction jobs, and will build modern workspace for approximately 11.5 per cent of the 46,000 new jobs Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035. We are part of Belfast Agenda and want to contribute to the life, economy and community of the city

“We have recognised the unmatched opportunity to extend and complement the traditional centre of Belfast, and bring the opposite bank of the River Lagan back into the life of the city. This is a site of significant importance to the continuing regeneration of both the city centre and East Belfast, and to the continued growth of Northern Ireland’s economy.”

Swinford Ltd will now undertake a minimum 12 weeks of pre-application community consultation, including three public exhibitions, before submitting a planning application to Belfast City Council. The former industrial site, now derelict brownfield, was purchased by Swinford in August 2016 with completion in January this year.  It was once the site of the world’s largest rope works, set up by Samuel Davidson in 1881.