Major regeneration plans for Belfast waterfront site

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

Image caption,
What the new Sirocco site might look like after the regeneration

A developer has announced fresh plans for the regeneration of a major waterfront site in Belfast.

The Sirocco site covers 16 acres along the River Lagan between Bridge End and the Albertbridge Road.

A consortium led by the Warwickshire-based St Francis Group bought the site in 2016.

It is proposing to develop 69,000 sq m of offices, 815 new homes, a hotel and a footbridge to the Waterfront Hall.

The scheme has been designed by international architects Broadway Malyan and would take almost 20 years to fully develop.

Philip Silk, Director of the Swinford (Sirocco) consortium, said the plan for 815 homes represented "the largest residential development in the city centre".

He said it would include a mix of private, rental, social and affordable accommodation.

Image caption,
Plans for the new site

The Sirocco site was originally used as an industrial ventilation-making factory and ceased functioning in 1999.

In 2006, the Belfast-based Carvill Group bought the site for £40m and proposed a mixed-use scheme, anchored by a supermarket.

However the property crash intervened, Carvill went into administration and the site lay derelict.

It eventually ended up under the control of the Cerberus investment fund who sold it to the new owners.

The consortium will now undertake a minimum 12 weeks of pre-application community consultation, including three public exhibitions.