81-87 Academy Street & 2-6 Exchange Street comprises a surface carpark and a former warehouse building built in the 1950s and refurbished in 1991 by Lyons Architects (Z/1990/2329/F) to form a showroom and office space.
Galgorm Properties and RPP Architects submitted a planning application (Z/2004/2997/F) in December 2004 proposing to develop a five-storey office building. The application was approved in October 2006.
Barnabas Ventures acquired the site in 2007 and proposed to take forward the permission to develop an 18,000ft2 office building. Barnabas was placed into administration before development commenced and the site was placed on the market by CBRE in 2014 with offers invited in the region of £400,000.
The building sold in late 2014. Intern Europe, WDR & RT Taggart Architects and Strategic Planning undertook consultation during early 2016 on a proposed eight storey 238 bed ‘managed intern accommodation’ building with ground floor offices, car parking and retail unit.
CBRE brought the c.0.15 acre site to market in December 2016 with offers invited in the region of £1.2m.
Lacuna Academy Street Ltd submitted a planning application (LA04/2017/2811/F) in December 2017 proposing to develop a 19 storey residential building comprising 105 units (42no. one bed and 63no. two bed) and ground floor café unit.
An amended proposal was submitted in August 2018 proposing a 16 storey residential building comprising 90 units (30no.one bed and 60no. two bed) and ground floor café unit. The amended proposal also involves public realm improvements to the surrounding streets.
The ‘build to rent’ scheme is designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and it is expected that Five Nine Living will manage the building.
Manson Architects have been appointed to this project by Lacuna Academy Street Ltd and Watkin Jones Group.
The application was recommended approval by Belfast Planning Committee in October 2018 and April 2019.
Construction is expected to commence early summer 2019.