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As BUG pointed out maybe best not mentioning names.

@hypnotoad - you've been lulled into believing the lie - there's no profit in retaining good buildings and creating an area that gives loads of character.
I certainly wasn't trying to suggest there is no value in retaining the old buildings, i was thinking more along the lines of who actually is willing to put the money in to do so. A lot of these buildings aren't a simple lick of paint job; one look at the jungle growing out of the shell of North Street Arcade shows the complex task involved there.

It almost sounds like you're despairing - trying to balance seemingly irreconcilable forces of a great project, while enticing those developers. Well the issue is one side refuses to listen to feedback, reason, or just rules and good taste.
It's a bit unfair to say they won't listen to feedback at all. Since taking over the scheme, the developer has moved the balance away from mainly retail to mainly office, in line with the council's targets for new office space. Since releasing the plans earlier this year, they have altered them, significantly increasing the retained facades and (supposedly) providing space for local businesses. I do agree that on the biggest issues- the arcade, Writer's Square, the developer seems unwilling to listen.

If the planners had that attitude - they're the Guardians of a raw and finite resource - then it's the develoeprs who have everything to lose. If a jeweler came to buy a precious metal from me for their ware who do you think hold the balance of power?
The balance of power probably isn't as one sided whenever 50% of the metal you are selling is a bit of a wreck. Also, it's hard to translate into the business analogy, but when you, the Council, have publically decided to target so many square metres of office space, and someone comes along to say 'yes, i will help with that, and i will also throw in cleaning up some derelict streets in the process', the offer will look more enticing.

Similarly, do you really think no one is going to ever develop this area? Maybe it won't be a big master plan, but an organic smaller scheme. There's just too much opportunity there. It'll be restored in time. So why rush to acquiesce to the developers now?
Some of these buildings won't have long enough to sit around and wait for this eventual organic development. Going to the example of Hill Street, it's taken over ten years for a handful of bars to open along it's length, only one of which- the Dirty Onion- has involved anything of the scope of restoration several of the buildings between North Street and Donegall Street will require.

Also, the developer is retaining many of the facades along North Street and Donegall Street. Did we all get angry when Premier Inn did exactly the same for their hotel at 4 corners? I certainly don't recall much anger on here. Or, how about the old Athletic Stores building? Facade retained, with new development in behind comprising additional floors... again not much dissent on here, but somebody comes along proposing to do that to some of the buildings in this area and its a travesty.

Look, i'm certainly not, as you seemed to be suggesting, standing there getting ready to wave the diggers through. I've pointed out on here my issues with the scheme, and also responded to the last public consultation- The scale of the office between Writers Square and North Street, the need for a big department store (and the quality of its design), the quality of the buildings fronting Royal Avenue, the loss of local character. I was simply wondering where we go from here. Personally, i think the council needs to stop packaging up areas of the city, and asking for a masterplan for the area. However, i think the process with this scheme has gone too far, and it will go ahead. It would just be great if that included scrapping the unnecessary department store and restoring the arcade.
 

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What I'm getting at is there's really only a small piece in the way of endorsing the scheme wholeheartedly.

The nature of the land you're selling doesn't really matter. It's the land itself. It's actually more headache if it's a good building. A ruin is a piece of cake. Bulldozers assemble!

I agree with the redevelopment you mention - keeping facades and behind totally building a new structure. I don't even mind keeping every single one.

We have to be careful at believing in things that are too big to fail/cancel. And it'd boggle the mind of normal folks how we somehow found ourselves in that checkmate when it's still ostensibly in planning.
 

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I would've been in North Street arcade a handful of times before it burnt down. Now bare in mind that I was the bright soul who thought the (pre Hudson bar) Haymarket Arcade looked cheerful in a certain light, me a person who has spent quite a bit of time in underground record shops and other exercises that involve giving money to seedy purveyors of second hand goods, and being one of those rare people in this country who doesn't think every single shop or restaurant that isn't a chain is 'third world squalor'...

... but the north street arcade circa 2002 wasn't the mecca many people think it was. It has skylights in the photo but I remember it being extremely dark. The vast majority of the units were empty, and I can remember little sense that it was a building of architectural interest. Certainly there was little hint of there being an upstairs. Really it seemed to me to be in the same vein as Inshops, Craigavon Legahory shopping centre. While it would be nice to rebuild it as a curvy version of Queens Arcade (albeit with shops that appealed to all those who aren't in the market for a five grand engagement ring), I'm not sure if they could find the tenants for it. But then again it's unlikely Royal Exchange will find tenants for all of their large stores, so...
 

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I would've been in North Street arcade a handful of times before it burnt down. Now bare in mind that I was the bright soul who thought the (pre Hudson bar) Haymarket Arcade looked cheerful in a certain light, me a person who has spent quite a bit of time in underground record shops and other exercises that involve giving money to seedy purveyors of second hand goods, and being one of those rare people in this country who doesn't think every single shop or restaurant that isn't a chain is 'third world squalor'...

... but the north street arcade circa 2002 wasn't the mecca many people think it was. It has skylights in the photo but I remember it being extremely dark. The vast majority of the units were empty, and I can remember little sense that it was a building of architectural interest. Certainly there was little hint of there being an upstairs. Really it seemed to me to be in the same vein as Inshops, Craigavon Legahory shopping centre. While it would be nice to rebuild it as a curvy version of Queens Arcade (albeit with shops that appealed to all those who aren't in the market for a five grand engagement ring), I'm not sure if they could find the tenants for it. But then again it's unlikely Royal Exchange will find tenants for all of their large stores, so...
I remember it as a teenager in the early 2000's and it was a bit grim to be fair. A friend knew the café owner and we would call in after school now and then.

I concur with your memory, it wasn't a particularly nice place and was dark with a lot of empty units. It certainly bears no resemblance to that rather nice picture Plank posted, far from it.

I'm not opposed to rebuilding the arcade and I included that in my comments to MCE on the revised proposals but I think it's important to recognise it wasn't such a nice place in the latter years. I'd like it rebuild and used for independent stores or a mix of independent and chains, to help with income.
 

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The cafe- Arcadia was it- was terrific, did a stupendous coffee. Has a great brass coffee machine from memory. Don't recall any other unit that was in the place.

Here's the thing, if they were to refurbish the arcade, surely the rental price of a unit would be high, to cover the costs of the huge work involved. And so there wouldn't be (m)any independent units in there anyway?
 

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The cafe- Arcadia was it- was terrific, did a stupendous coffee. Has a great brass coffee machine from memory. Don't recall any other unit that was in the place.

Here's the thing, if they were to refurbish the arcade, surely the rental price of a unit would be high, to cover the costs of the huge work involved. And so there wouldn't be (m)any independent units in there anyway?
Goodness the name escapes me! I'll have to check with her. I do vaguely recall a brass coffee machine though, though my memory of 15ish years ago is a bit rough :lol:

I don't remember many of the shops, I do recall Kozo Paper though, had some good stuff.
 

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Giving away your ages there, Hypnotoad and BUG!

I'll just have to admire the photos rather than reminisce :lol:

Ageism aside, It would have been fascinating to see Belfast in the 70's and 80's compared to the City today. The younger generation don't realise how far we have come.
 

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I've don't remember ever being in it. It's just that teutonic looking marble interior facade that caught my eye. Maybes the photo flatters it somewhat.
In the early 2000's I don't recall ever going beyond Castle court or Royal Avenue everything else was just a baron wasteland. Fresh garbage was the closest I came to Royal Avenue and it was only out of curiosity.
 

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Ageism aside, It would have been fascinating to see Belfast in the 70's and 80's compared to the City today. The younger generation don't realise how far we have come.
I'm too young to remember the city prior to the mid-1990's but speaking with people who do recall what it was like is akin to having a parallel world described to you.

I think we can all be justified in our criticism now and then of what's happening here and there and bemoan certain things but the city is light years from where it was only 20 years ago. The city has had to undergo a lot of catching up and not all of that has been perfect but the change is still very impressive.
 

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Application in to demolish this building;



The cleared land will have a temporary hard landscaping finish and allow the full paving of the new Upper Lombard Street which will connect Lombard Street with North Street and run alongside the new church square and office block.

 
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