The Queen’s Quay site is a 1.3 hectare area identified by the Department for Communities Queen’s Quay Masterplan 2013. The site has been subject to previous proposals dating back to the Laganside Concept Plan 1987, the Eastbank Strategy 2000 and the Laganside Corporate Plan 2004 – 2007 which identified the Queen’s Quay Comprehensive Development Scheme as a development priority to secure the regeneration of the Quays. A development brief was issued in 2005 but was not progressed.
The Department for Social Development (now Department for Communities) published a Masterplan for the area in August 2013.
Belfast City Council commissioned a strategy for the Oxford Street / East Bank Special Action Area (as defined in the City Centre Regeneration & Investment Strategy) in 2016. The strategy includes Queen’s Quay, the Sirocco site and the ‘Shatter Zone’ (collectively referred to as the East Bank).
Lambert Smith Hampton, on behalf of the Department for Communities, brought the site to market in December 2016 inviting expressions of interest for the use of the site, either in its entirety or in part.
The Department for Communities launched a public consultation in December 2021 for Queen’s Quay. The consultation will inform a future outline planning application for a mixed-use development. Comments can be made via www.communities-ni.gov.uk/consultations/queens-quay-pre-application-community-consultation until the 31st January 2022.
Queen’s Quay Masterplan 2013
The Department for Social Development (now Department for Communities) commissioned a Masterplan for the area in 2012 to become supplementary guidance to ‘The Laganside Corporation Dissolution Order (Northern Ireland) 2006’. A team led by Deloitte, including Benoy (Urban Designers and Architects) and Peter Brett Associates (Transport Consultants) worked with the DfC’s Belfast City Centre Regeneration Directorate and the ad hoc Queen’s Quay Advisory Group (DoE Planning, DoE Environment and Heritage Service, DRD Roads Service, Belfast City Council, PSNI, Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast City Centre Management and the East Belfast Partnership Board) to develop the proposed range, mix and location of uses for Queen’s Quay. The final Masterplan document was published in August 2013.
The Queen’s Quay Masterplan suggests that phase one will include the removal of the 1966 Station Street flyover (which is surplus to requirements since the construction of the M3 Lagan Bridge) and replacement with realigned roads and new traffic signal junctions.
Public realm improvements are also suggested in advance of commercial development. The Masterplan anticipated that commercial development would be phased over 5 – 10 years with each plot subject to a development brief issued by the Department for Communities.
The Queen’s Quay Masterplan proposes mixed-use development totalling 500,000ft2; comprising a 208 bedroom hotel (129,000ft2 / 18 storeys), residential building (213,500ft2 / 14 storeys), leisure uses (87,000ft2 / 2 storeys) and car parking (62,000ft2 / 3 storeys).
Queen’s Quay 2005 – 2006 Development Brief
The Laganside Corporation issued a development brief in January 2005 seeking a development partner for the 3.5 acre Queen’s Quay site. Five developers submitted tenders for the development opportunity: (1) Sheridan Millennium Ltd, (2) ADELA Properties LTD, (3) BLOK Developments, (4) The Carville Group, and (5) Lagan Quays Ltd.
Sheridan Millennium Ltd were selected as preferred developer in June 2005, subject to a due diligence process. Sheridan proposed a £90m mixed-use scheme designed by Broadway Malyan and Robinson McIlwaine Architects.
The Department for Social Development (DSD) and Laganside Corporation announced in December 2006 that following a due diligence process they could not properly form an opinion on the deliverability of the project and would not be entering into a Development Agreement with Sheridan Millennium Ltd. Sheridan’s appointment as preferred developer was terminated.
Sheridan Millenium Ltd took legal action seeking to quash the DSD’s decision to terminate the company’s appointment as preferred developer for Queen’s Quay. The High Court found in favour of the DSD on 28th January 2008 – click to read Mr Justice Gillen’s case report.