A proposed £500m mixed use development (formerly known as Royal Exchange) proposed by Castlebrooke Investments within the north-east quarter of Belfast City Centre. The proposed scheme comprises residential, hotel, office, retail, culture and leisure uses across 8 acres at Royal Avenue, Lower Garfield Street, North Street, Donegall Street and Rosemary Street. The official scheme website provides further information – www.tribeca-belfast.co.uk.
A joint venture referred to as the ‘Gateway Project’ was proposed by Ewart Properties and John Laing/MEPC in 1999. The scheme proposed combining the land owned by Ewart’s in the North East Quarter of Belfast City Centre with John Laing/MEPC’s proposed extension of CastleCourt into Smithfield. The joint project was dropped when the Department for Social Development (DSD) announced Victoria Square as its preferred comprehensive regeneration project.
Following development of Victoria Square the DSD announced support for a retail-led regeneration project within the North East Quarter of Belfast City Centre in March 2006. The DSD entered into “Heads of Terms” with Leaside Investments in February 2008 and in December 2009 a Development Agreement was signed to develop the North East Quarter as a mixed-use project called Royal Exchange. A spokesperson for Leaside Investments commented on the agreement; “the company has been acquiring properties in the area for almost 20 years and to date has invested £40m to get to this stage”.
Leaside Investments (a consortium consisting of Ewart Properties, Snoddens Construction & ING Real Estate) submitted the Royal Exchange planning application to DoE Planning in October 2010 (Z/2010/1532/F). The application proposed a department store, retail units, café/ restaurant units, hotel (25 rooms), office accommodation, residential units (205no. apartments), arts centre, retail car park (830no. spaces), residential car park (236no. spaces) and public spaces. The planning application was approved in September 2012.
RBS Capital Resolution (Ulster Bank) announced in May 2015 that a portfolio of property loans, including loans associated with Royal Exchange, had been purchased by an entity affiliated with Cerberus Capital Management.
The Royal Exchange Development Agreement between DSD and Leaside Investments Ltd was terminated in November 2015.
Castlebrooke Investments acquired the land associated with Royal Exchange in an off-market deal with Cerberus in January 2016.
A company associated with Castlebrooke Investments submitted a planning application (LA04/2016/2327/F) proposing to vary conditions of the original Royal Exchange planning permission granted under Z/2010/1532/F to enable potential phased delivery of the scheme. The Department for Infrastructure issued a Notice of Opinion in January 2017 to approve the application to vary conditions.
Castlebrooke Investments commenced consultation in February 2017 on a revised development proposal across 8 acres of the North East Quarter. The proposed mixed use scheme comprises retail, leisure, residential, community and office space. The construction cost of the proposed scheme was estimated at £250m and the total investment was reported as £400m. Public consultation events took place at The Mac Belfast during February and July 2017.
PG Ltd and Savills submitted a planning application (LA04/2017/2126/F) in September 2017 proposing redevelopment of the area known as Phase 1b (lands bound by Royal Avenue, Rosemary Street, North Street and Lower Garfield Street). The proposal comprises office (9,000m2), retail (2,700m2), cafe/restaurant (1,600m2), residential (6 units) and community use (1,000m2) and associated public realm and landscaping.
PG Ltd and Savills submitted an outline planning application (LA04/2017/2341/O) in October 2017.
Castlebrooke Investments renamed the scheme Tribeca Belfast in November 2018. The name reportedly reflects the development’s location as the ‘Triangle beside the Cathedral’.
Farrans Construction were announced as preferred contractor for Phase One of Tribeca Belfast in January 2019. Farrans will construct two office buildings comprising a total of 180,000ft2, 24no. apartments and ground floor retail / cafe units.
Castlebrooke Investments announced a series of changes to the outline planning application in June 2019 and launched a ten week public consultation process ahead of the submitting amendments in Autumn 2019. The proposed changes, led by Squire & Partners Architects and Consarc Design Group, include a reduction in the height of the 27 storey office building to 10 storeys, more retained facades at North Street and Donegall Street and a reintroduction of the listed North Street Arcade with space for independent retailers. An exhibition of the revised proposals took place at North Street between July – August 2019.
PG Ltd and Savills submitted revisions to the outline planning application in August 2019. The outline application comprises:
- Office – up to 45,000m2 of floorspace within the upper floors of blocks 1, 2, and 9.
- Retail, cafe, restaurant – up to 10,000m2 of floorspace at ground floor within blocks 1, 2, 3, and 9.
- Residential – up to 36,000m2 of floorspace within block 3.
- Hotel – up to 6,000m2 of floorspace within the Assembly Rooms (c.54 rooms)
- Cultural / community uses – up to 695m2 of space within block 3.