A two storey building designed by William J. Barre for the Belfast branch of the Provincial Bank of Ireland. The building was built by Henry Fulton between 1864 – 1869 and the interior and exterior carvings were carried out by a Mr Barnes. W. J. Barre died of illness in 1867 so the building was completed under the supervision of Turner & Williamson.
Alterations, designed by Watt, Tulloch & Fitzsimons, were completed by W.J. Campbell & Son in 1915.
The building was Grade B+ listed in December 1977 (ref: HB26/50/106).
The Provincial Bank of Ireland continued to occupy the building until the Allied Irish Bank took over in the late 1980s.
Chapman Taylor Architects and Farrans Construction refurbished and extended the building for use as a supermarket between 1995 – 1996. A 14,000ft2 Tesco Metro foodstore opened in October 1996. Tesco occupied the full 22,000ft2 building on a 25 year FRI lease from October 1996 until closing in October 2021.
Tesco appointed WDR & RT Taggart, WYG and Patton Construction in 2007 to carry out a full restoration of the buildings facade and roof. The Cookstown sandstone facade had been painted over throughout the buildings history, as early as 1888, in an effort to prevent deterioration of the stone. The restoration project removed the many layers of paint and cleaned the stonework. The project was completed in 2008.
CBRE placed the building on the market in February 2021 seeking offers over £4.25m.
Belfast City Council acquired the building during late 2021 and opened a meanwhile space in December 2021, funded by Tourism NI.
More information: 2 Royal Avenue.