Frames Complex

Last Update: 15 Dec 2019 | Planning Status Updated

  • Address: 2 - 14 Little Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2JD
  • Use: Leisure
  • Floors: 4
  • Project Status: Completed

A five-storey red-brick building designed by William J. Fennell for Robert Watson & Co., cabinet makers and upholsterers. The furniture showroom and factory building was built by James Kidd in two phases. The front four-storey section at Library Square (including the tower) was completed in 1898 and the rear five storey section at Union Street was completed in 1907.

R. Watson & Co. occupied Library House, as it was known, until closing in the late 1960s. The building was acquired by Gracemount Enterprises Ltd in the 1970s and refurbished and converted to leisure uses in 1983. The Frames Complex operated primarily as a snooker hall, including a licensed premises and amusement arcade.

Gracemount Enterprises and Lyons Architects submitted a planning application (Z/2007/2120/F) in August 2007 proposing to demolish the existing building and develop a new £18m twelve storey building comprising 63no. apartments, office space, ground floor commercial units and basement parking. Whilst the application was being assessed the Department of the Environment ‘spot-listed’ the building in January 2008 resulting in the application being amended to propose refurbishment of the existing building to form 18no. apartments, retail and office space. The amended application proposing refurbishment of the existing building was approved in September 2011.

The Frames building was B1 listed in August 2008 (ref: HB26/50/280).

The Titanic Pub & Kitchen opened at the ground floor of the building during early 2012 and traded until closing in 2017.

Gracemount Enterprises submitted a planning application (LA04/2016/1915/F) in September 2016 seeking to renew permission Z/2007/2120/F. The proposal involves refurbishment of the existing building and alterations to form ground floor retail and office space and 18no. two bedroom apartments on the upper floors alongside office accommodation. The application was refused permission in December 2018.

The building sold during May 2017 for a figure reportedly in excess of £4m (Irish News).

The Bear and the Doll bar opened in May 2017 and The Art Department venue opened in September 2017. A third venue; Blaklist opened in December 2017 serving cocktails and tapas.

JAR (Ire) Ltd and Oscar & Oscar submitted a listed building consent application (LA04/2019/2757/LBC) in November 2019 proposing to refurbish the existing front bar at ground and first floor and reinstate original ground floor windows and doors.