Plans for £75 million Belfast landmark redevelopment unveiled

The scheme, focused on state-of-the-art workspace is to be known as ‘The Sixth’ and will include 230,000 sq ft of commercial space and ‘active’ ground floor uses such as cafes, restaurants and retail.

The project’s name is inspired by the newspaper’s original evening edition. The street vendors’ call of “Sixth Late Tele” was familiar throughout Belfast for more than a century.

Designed by Stirling Prize-winning architectural practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), the proposals will deliver 2,000 high value jobs as part of an emerging creative district centred on the education, culture, media and technology sectors.

The announcement comes as a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for the scheme was submitted by Bel Tel LLP, the site owners. The LLP, which acquired the site in late 2016, is the first joint venture by Belfast City Council with a private developer, McAleer and Rushe.

The submission of the PAN marks a significant milestone for the project that will see an investment of £75 million to bring one of Belfast’s most famous landmarks back into active use.

Launching the proposals Stephen Surphlis, Property Director of McAleer and Rushe, on behalf of Bel Tel LLP said:

These are important proposals that will bring a landmark building associated with the news industry back into use for a digital age. Adjacent to both the Ulster University Campus and Central Library, The Sixth will play an important role in the regeneration of Belfast by delivering high quality workspace for global and local businesses, particularly those in the professional, creative and technology sectors.

Built in 1886, the Belfast Telegraph building was home to the city’s newspaper for more than 100 years, before it moved to new premises in June 2016. The grade B2 Listed Building will be comprehensively refurbished as part of the redevelopment of the wider one-acre site.

Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive of Belfast City Council explained:

The partnership is delighted to unveil its plans for The Sixth. The Sixth will add to the vibrancy of this emerging creative district and help stimulate further regeneration in Belfast”.

The proposals for the site include a public walking route through the building, and new retail and food and beverage opportunities on the ground floor that will enliven the streetscape and provide a range of amenities to the area.

Ms Wylie explained that the proposed scheme is being showcased to an international audience of investors, developers and occupiers today at MIPIM in Cannes – the world’s largest real estate conference.

Councillor Mairead O’Donnell, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, explained:

This is an exciting milestone for what is Belfast City Council’s first joint venture with a private sector developer. As part of the delivery of our City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy, the Council made the strategic decision to invest in this part of the city centre and stimulate further regeneration.

The partnership’s proposals will help to re-energise this area with a scheme that has been designed to respect the existing built heritage in this part of the city, and The Sixth will build on the momentum already generated by the Ulster University investment.

A planning application for the scheme will be submitted following a 12-week pre-application community consultation led by national planning consultants Turley. The consultation will provide local residents, businesses and other members of the public with an opportunity to see and to comment on the plans.

It is expected that The Sixth will create 650 jobs during construction, and more than 2,000 jobs when fully occupied.