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Ok. Fair enough, they rejected Aurora. But they approved the near 110m tower on this site. Your point about Dublin planners is a complete irrelevance, you sound like my mum when she wanted me to eat my vegetables when I was younger. "Eat your veggies and be grateful, there’s children starving in the world". Why should we simply say "Oh well at least we're not Dublin!".



BUG you know full well this is an underutilized site now. The fact that it could've previously accommodated a 110m tower and now it suddenly can't is the proof of this. It’s simply an idiotic move on the developers part. I'd rather see them waiting to build the tower than build this. It’s a key site, it sits next to the tallest office building in the country and its round the corner from one of the biggest transport hubs in the country offering regional bus and train links as well as links to three airports. It's within walking distance to universities, City Hall, cafes and conference facilities.

We being skyscraper enthusiasts should not be pleased that something is being developed, we should want what’s best for the site not just in the short term but in to the future as well. This is not the best move for this site, its as simple as that. Even if the previous proposal didn't exist it'd still think this is underutilization of a key plot of land.
Honestly, if you're looking for skyscrapers, go look in the Shanghai thread.

You probably won't find any major high-rise in Belfast for the next few years - there is not enough demand, and no one is willing to finance them. Even if there was the will, no local bank has a spare £100m for property speculation, especially considering that's exactly the sort of lending that almost put 3 of the big 4 local banks out of business only a few years ago.

Building 0.25m sq ft of offices on a derelict city centre plot is not underutilising the space!

The problem with the urban fabric is that it's full of huge gaps - a few dozen hectares of vacant plots in and around the city centre. A 30 storey tower will fill one gap. Five smaller developments equalling the same floor space will fill five gaps. That is the type of development Belfast needs - planners know it, and the developers know that's where the low-risk returns are. There's nothing idiotic about it at all.
 

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Underutilize definition- to utilize less than fully or below the potential use. So there is no further potential use for this site? Ok....

I'm not trying to start an argument here but the "just be grateful they’re building something" attitude on this particular forum is strange. I'm not taking away from any good development that has taken place- and there’s been plenty. But again we are on a skyscraper site, to be told to basically p*ss off to the Shanghai thread if I'm bringing forward legitimate concerns is somewhat disappointing. I'm simply saying how I feel about it- as is my right to do so. It's a forum.
 
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Discussion Starter #23
Is rather we focus on quality developments on empty sites. Our urban fabric is scarred by ugly vacant lots and surface car parks, we need to address those if we are to expand the city centre and make it a sustainable and attractive place to live and work.

Yes this site could have a taller building but planning for the 110m tower expired last year. This new plan may not be +100m but it is a good utilisation of the land. People seem to forget that land prices in Belfast have fallen dramatically so the need to build high to maximise returns is no longer required.

We have two buildings in Belfast and they aren't the best in terms of design or quality. I'd rather the city focused on high quality massing and when tall proposals come along we judge them on merit rather than mere height.

Once land value begins to increase then higher-rise becomes more sensible. It's sensible in Dublin as land is vastly more expensive than Belfast but yet they continue to under utilise land and build stumps where height is justified
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Secondly, the name of site is 'skyscraper' but most threads on this site are about wider urban development and non-skyscrapers. Urban development is more than skyscrapers, especially in a city like Belfast where our urban fabric requires extensive repair.
 

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Our urban fabric is scarred by ugly vacant lots and surface car parks, we need to address those if we are to expand the city centre and make it a sustainable and attractive place to live and work.

We have two buildings in Belfast and they aren't the best in terms of design or quality. I'd rather the city focused on high quality massing and when tall proposals come along we judge them on merit rather than mere height.
I suppose this is the approach Belfast seems to be taking and it's the right one. We need to expand the city centre for sure, and when that comes down to density it's when we're coming out of a recession that you'd expect to see it. Building high rises is more than just showing off, it makes sense when land value is at a peak in the cycle, which we're not at.

I think people are missing esb_ny's point though. He's saying we shouldn't be happy that things are being built for the sake of it on prime sites. Just look how that went in so many UK cities, and I really don't believe there are that many sites that will lend themselves to tall buildings.

In my time on this forum I have come round to the idea that density is our most pressing issue, and it is a good point that proposals are normally approved and they never get built because of the developers, but esb_ny's points about just how good a location it is are right. They really should consider telling them they won't approve less than what they approved before. When it's built the plot is gone, after all.
 

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Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
I understand esb's point and I agree we shouldn't be happy that 'something' is being build. They are building a hotel on Corporation Street and it's hideous. I'm
not happy about that and I've lodged an objection despite the fact it's on a vacant site.

This proposal however is a good proposal and involves the restoration of a neglected yet beautiful building. I'd rather see our historic and neglected buildings restored and put to new use rather than new shiny tall towers to be perfectly honest. Glass towers come and go, we ought to preserve our architectural heritage as a priority.

The tall tower was a boom era project, such a tower would not be financially viable for at least another 3-5 years in Belfast at least. There are plenty of sites in Belfast suitable for towers, we've never been an anti-tower city so there's plenty of opportunities for towers as the economy improves, office space prices increase and land values increase.

I'm aware people get frustrated by the lack of tall buildings in Belfast but we're a very small city with comparatively low land value and towers don't make financial sense for developers yet. It will in years to come, people just need to be patient and appreciate what work is happening to repair our urban density and massing.
 

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I think one happy medium/median between the two points there, missing an opportunity or making the most of bad situation, is that if they do roll back their ambitious plans, at least please put a little money and effort into the finished cladding and facade. eg No plastic chintzy cladding a la Lanyon Plaza. Something, a material, colour, detail(s), anything that stands up to the beauty of the old building in front that effortlessly outclasses most of the newer structures around it. (and cos forums tend to lead to conclusions being jumped to, no not advocating gargoyles and ornate marble arches, but just saying the compromise that is the 'small' proposal won't be seen as such if it is stonkingly nice - unless there'd be an objection as it would look out of place... then generic build away at office building!)
 

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PS

For what it's worth, those renders, and I mean the actual rendering, is pretty amazing. The most 'realistic' looking I've seen in ... ever? A while anyway.

And the proposals do look nice, let's hope it translates into real world when they use great materials/finishes to make it look as interesting as the render
 

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Underutilize definition- to utilize less than fully or below the potential use. So there is no further potential use for this site? Ok....

I'm not trying to start an argument here but the "just be grateful they’re building something" attitude on this particular forum is strange. I'm not taking away from any good development that has taken place- and there’s been plenty. But again we are on a skyscraper site, to be told to basically p*ss off to the Shanghai thread if I'm bringing forward legitimate concerns is somewhat disappointing. I'm simply saying how I feel about it- as is my right to do so. It's a forum.
The proposal for a 30 storey tower was underutilising the space, by that definition. The point is that building high-rise doesn't make any sense in Belfast, and won't for the foreseeable future.

I am grateful that something high-quality is being built to restore and compliment a heritage building in a key location. I never told you to piss off to Shanghai thread, the point was if you go looking on the Belfast thread hoping to see nice render for a new skyscraper, you're going to be disappointed.
 

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Reminds me of the Aurora project. Thankfully that 30 storey building, creating hundreds of jobs was rejected in place of a new petrol station. :wallbash:
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Reminds me of the Aurora project. Thankfully that 30 storey building, creating hundreds of jobs was rejected in place of a new petrol station. :wallbash:
Aurora was a moronic decision by the planners.

However, even if approved it's unlikely we would have Aurora completed. The developer went bust so we'd either have an empty site or an unfinished building project. Aurora could have been Belfast's Anglo Bank project.
 

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Perhaps I'm mistaken, or they have been there for a while, but it looks like site prep, container offices etc. are now on site. I'll get a better look next time I'm in that area.

Happy New Year!
 

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Discussion Starter #34
According to FutureBelfast;

McAleer & Rushe submitted an Economic Justification Report to the Belfast Planning Office in December 2015. The report outlines a desire by the developer to receive planning permission by February 2016 to enable delivery of the project by Q2 2018. The planning application remains under consideration by Belfast City Council.
 

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Message from 'Belfast at MIPIM' on Twitter; ‏@BelfastMIPIM ·

" @McAleerrushe expects work to start on Bedford Sq Phase2 in Belfast city centre in Q3 '16. Includes Grade A office building over 15floors "
 

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Are there any tenants lined up to pre-let Bedford Square? It's quite a large commercial development so you'd think they'd have someone set up to occupy some of the space otherwise it could be very empty for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
NIEA's Heritage Development & Change Branch are appointing a specialist Conservation Engineer to examine the documentation submitted by the applicant and make a "fair and comprehensive response". NIEA suggest that the report may be completed by late April 2016.

FutureBelfast

Personally I think the conversion looks well and respects and enhances the existing Bedford Street frontage. The rear is obviously a complete contrast but I'm hoping the conservation report gives the go ahead.
 
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