Belfast's 'tallest building' site plans are withdrawn

CGI of Aurora building A computer generated image of the Aurora building on Belfast's skyline

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A planning appeal against the decision to block what would have been Belfast's tallest building has been withdrawn.

The Aurora building would have risen 37-storeys above Great Victoria Street, but planners rejected the scheme saying its scale was inappropriate. Developer Mervyn McAlister had been appealing that decision.

However, last week it emerged the Aurora site had been placed into receivership on the instruction of Anglo Irish Bank.

Now a note on the Planning Appeals Commission website, dated 17 February, said the appeal had been withdrawn.

Anglo appointed a receiver to the Aurora site on 27 January, the same day it placed two other McAlister sites into receivership.

Those two sites at Greenhall Highway in Coleraine and Dunlady Road in Dundonald were the property of McAlister Construction Ltd.

Mr McAlister, a house builder and hotel owner from Ballycastle, came to prominence in 2007 when he announced the plans for the Aurora at the peak of Northern Ireland's property boom.

In December, he announced he was temporarily closing his Ballycastle hotel, the Marine.

All of Mr McAlister's companies are continuing to trade.

A bank appoints a receiver when it doubts a company's ability to repay all of its debts and wants assets sold so that it can get its money back.

The receiver also takes control of any rental income the properties are earning.

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