The official sod turning has taken place for the development of £117 million apartments in Belfast.
While preparatory construction work gas began on site in July, the main contractor Graham Construction has officially started work on the site which will deliver 778 apartments in the Titanic Quarter of the city.
Developers Watkin Jones held a ceremony on September 12 to mark the beginning of the first Build To Rent scheme in Northern Ireland.
Known as The Loft Lines, it will house 627 Build to Rent apartments alongside 151 affordable homes (for Clanmil Housing Association) across three different buildings.
Forward funded by Legal & General, they will include studios, one-bed, two-beds and three-beds on the 3.8-acre site.
Each block will provide a shared external amenity courtyard on the first floor and another amenity space at the roof level.
There will also be lounges, cinema rooms, sports and recreational spaces and children’s play areas for the apartments.
In a ‘resident first’ approach, cyclists and pedestrians will be prioritised over cars which includes bike storage with wash down and repair facilities as well as covered storage for visitors’ cycles.
The scheme was brought forward by a development partnership of Watkin Jones PLC, Pirrie Belfast Limited and Lacuna Developments.
While securing approval to go-ahead in October last year, construction was delayed due to the financial climate.
Speaking at the ceremony marking the dawn of construction, Group Investment Director for Watkin Jone George Dyer hailed the Titanic Quarter as an area ‘steeped in rich history’.
“Transforming this brownfield site into a thriving place to live and acting as a catalyst for wider regeneration,” he said with the backdrop of the Titanic Museum behind him.
“The development is being brought to fruition by a partnership approach between all stakeholders and funders and we are grateful for the genuine collaboration we have experienced with our partners. This event demonstrates the progress the teams are making for the city of Belfast.”
Anthony Best, Managing Director of Lacuna Developments, said it was ‘fantastic’ to see the development come to life.
“Along with public realm, retail for the wider TQ community and a creche which the scheme will deliver, it is hugely exciting to be involved in the event.”
Completion of the apartments is expected in late 2025.
Feature Image Credit: Graham Construction