South Bank Square Ltd originally planned to build a 14-storey Novotel Hotel on the Fanum House site, close to Shatesbury Square. But amid the challenging economy for the hotel sector, the developer has shelved that plan in favour of a ‘build-to-rent’ scheme involving around 210 apartments.
The company is owned by Seamus Gillan, better known for his Maghera engineering firm BSG.
South Bank Square recently completed the purchase of the former Tyrone County Hospital site in Omagh.It is also pressing ahead with a £100m residential investment in the Waterside area of Derry that could see up to 750 homes built.
The developer acquired the Fanum House site in late 2011 in a deal overseen by the Republic’s National Asset Management Agency (Nama), one of the bad bank’s first major deals in the north.
It’s understood South Bank Square bought the site for between £4m and £5m.
The developer initially pressed ahead with the plans developed by the former owner, the Jermon property group, the company once owned by Dungannon pharmacist turned developer Peter Dolan.
That plan involved two hotels on the site.
South Bank Square went on to build the Etap Hotel on the Dublin Road and secure planning permission for the Novotel Hotel in 2012, which involved the demolition of Fanum House.
The new plan will see residential development ‘The Grattan’ built on the site. It’s the latest in a line of build-to-rent schemes to emerge in the city.
The developer’s proposal includes a ground floor commercial unit; resident’s lounge and social hub; business suites and fitness facilities; roof terraces and gardens; and public realm improvements to the front of the site.
South Bank Square is due to launch a pre-application community consultation process in early 2021.
Development manager Martin Mallon said, subject to approval, the project will involve around 350 construction jobs and up to 40 permanent roles.
“We believe this significant high-profile development offers an opportunity to help address the current widespread dereliction along Great Victoria Street, and will act as a catalyst for the renaissance of this very important part of the city centre.
“We are conscious that Belfast City Council has prioritised city centre living as one of their key outcomes in the Belfast Agenda, with the aim of growing the population of the city by 66,000 new residents by 2035.
“We believe that ‘The Grattan’ offers a fantastic opportunity to help deliver this objective of a sustainable and well-connected residential community in the city centre.”
Credit: Irish News