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Talk about stripping away any and all character - Waterfront Hall, centre piece of the very first regeneration post Troubles, turned into plastic conference centre venue with generic name (probably to be followed by spondership... urgh)...

It's this kind of story for the one of the only unique waterfront buildings we had that makes me despair at any more development in front or around other sites like the Titanic museum (soon to be known as the James Cameron Celebration Centre :lol).

Should have been left as it was, and a different proposal realised versus the backhander that got this terrible design built. Also ironic the extension now is being promoted before the main part of the buliding. I still await the financial reports showing this bounty that all these conferences are meant to be bestowing on the city...
 

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Should have been left as it was, and a different proposal realised versus the backhander that got this terrible design built. Also ironic the extension now is being promoted before the main part of the buliding. I still await the financial reports showing this bounty that all these conferences are meant to be bestowing on the city...
I've done some calculations, and if the venue hosts 20 conferences a year, and the delegates all stay at the Grand Central and purchase 2 beers each, or the equivalent, the city will see a return of approximately 200 million billion pounds.
 

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I still await the financial reports showing this bounty that all these conferences are meant to be bestowing on the city...
A snapshot below. Figures from BCC

European Conference on Personalised Medicine:
1,250 delegates, 5,000 bed nights worth £1.9m in 2017

IDF World Dairy Summit:
1,200 delegates, 6,250 bed nights worth £2.4m 2017

WHO Healthy Cities Conference:
1,000 delegates, 5,000 bed nights worth £1.9m in 2018.

British Ecological Society Annual Meeting:
1,500 delegates, 4,500 bed nights worth £2.2m in 2019

College of Occupational Therapists:
1,500 delegates. 3,000 bed nights worth £1.4m 2019

Microbiology Society Conference 2019 and 2022
1,400 delegates, 5,600 bed nights worth £2.7m per conference.
 

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Methodology for room rates - realistic or meant to look good and justify the expense?

Taking figures at face value looks like a dividend for hotels... any figures for bars, restaurants though?

Given mid week 80-90% occupancy Belfast has always been very quiet and it seems most stay in said hotels. I mentioned in my "For the 50th time - I love Belfast!" comment on the other thread that midweek is great to go out in Belfast. During conferences I never saw a swell in numbers in the bars.

Anyway, what's your stance on losing the iconic name to the extension grafted on? Surely a bit of a travesty? Particularly given its divisive (... is it really 'divisive' if *everyone* hates it?! :lol:) exterior. Also surely road open to (urgh) corporate sponsership...
 

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Corporate sponsorship isn’t new. It hasn’t stopped me and most others using Ravenhill or Odyssey instead of Kingspan and SSE. The Waterfront is run as a commercial enterprise so it can make money for the council which in turn can be invested in the city.

Not a fan of the new name but then it’ll always be the Waterfront to me.
 

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Not a fan of the new name. Not a fan of the new extension. Not a fan of the public realm and urban fabric.
$$$ I bet some smart arse ($$$$$) working there thinks it's all a cracking idea - build a crappy tin shed extension and then charge people a fortune to use it. $$$$$

Give it 25 years and they'll be tearing the whole place doon for a properly iconic convention centre. Put yer hooses on it...

*Can we make Titanic Belfast a listed building ASAP before some smart arse decides to build an extension for a wedding venue or some crap like that.

/rant
 

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Room rates are generally accurate. Most major conferences will have delegates book rooms through a dedicated site hosted by VisitBelfast.

Not sure if figures exist for bars/restaurants/shops, I’d imagine that’s more difficult to collect information on.

Speaking from experience when I organised these conferences, delegates do go out and a lot of large events provide delegates the chance go on food and bar tours as well as booking tables in restaurants for some groups. I’ve hosted 60 Chinese delegates at Shu, hired St. George’s Market and brought in artisans and producers to sell and showcase their products to over 1000 people and a host of other supplementary add-on events that supported hospitality businesses.

It’s a common feature of large conferences and part of the delegate experience and we do it very well here.
 

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So if these conferences bring in XX million billion to Belfast, then why couldn't we have a world class - iconic extension.. I literally have to close my eyes every time I cycle past it *exaggeration*. Completely dead at night too. Seriously hoping the Waterside can save the Laganside.
 

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Ask the council. Delegates generally don’t care what it looks like as long as the facilities inside are up to spec and capable of serving their needs during an event and that’s not something unique to Belfast.

Yeah it’s ugly and it’s not what I would have wanted to see personally but what it was designed and built to do as a facility it does exceptionally well and demonstrably contributes positively to Belfast’s economy.

I should add that the extension isn’t the reason that part of the river is quiet in the evenings, it’s always been that way and was exactly the same before the extension was build.
 

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That's a great point plank

I don't think it was ever going to enliven that part unless there was a ground level bar and reception area that had sliding doors to the riverside. But even so I don't find that a good or serious line of thought of "well it was quiet anyway, so it doens't matter".

It seems like having cake (it'll bring money and people!) and eating (well it wasn't going to change much anyway)
 

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^^

A bar or restaurant wouldn't change the dynamic there. It's been tried, Lanyon Quay was full of restaurants when it opened and they all closed because the trade just wasn't there.

The primary reason Tedford's has stayed put for the time being is thanks to the additional business it gets from delegates or when shows are on. I pass it almost nightly and it's not exactly a busy spot on non-conference nights.

That part of the river is not going to see any significant footfall or activity until the likes of Waterside are up and running. Currently there is nothing of interest after the Waterfront Hall and the only people I see are people cycling or walking their dog. Waterside will improve that area significantly and facilitate much greater footfall along the city centre - Waterfront - Waterside axis.
 

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I meant that, as part of the spaces available, there'd be a ground floor large hall/room with bar and seating that could open (sliding doors) onto the outside. With some roped off area to let people still get by between the river and the outdoor area.

Makes sense Tedford's, and hopefully/presumably whatever opens in the Soloist, benefiting.

How about further afield though? Do you get a sense that more venture out? Any surprises from talking - eg, a shocker like hearing feedback that there's loads loving Grannie Annie's etc.
 

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I'm just back from Vienna for the first time, what they have done with their river front is unreal. It's not as attractive architecturally compared to the rest of of the city but they have certainly made the most of it. Outdoor swimming pools, mini football pitches, man made beaches, communal gardens and bars/live music on top of barges. I know this is nothing new for European cities but it was so refreshing, seeing as our river front is completely devoid of life. It's tried and tested across Europe and it's no wonder Vienna is the most liveable city in the world either. You literally just need to replicate these things, how hard can it be?






 

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^^

I've advocated previously for things similar to those projects and the likes of Promenade des Berges de la Seine in Paris. The beach might be a bit much and not sure it would work given how easy and quick it is for people in Belfast to access proper beaches. There is a slight difference in that the likes of Paris and Vienna are inland and don't have quick and easy access to the coast, which isn't the case for Belfast.

I would like to see more barges though with the likes of bars, cafés and green planted spaces.

It wouldn't be fair to say BCC aren't considering such things, they are as part of the East Bank masterplan, but they could enhance that plan and include the West Bank (Waterfront Hall side) as well.

Waterside presents a great opportunity to start this process and both the architects and developer seem very keen to engage with the river.

These sorts of things are significantly more difficult further down the river and after the weir given the tidal range.
 

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Can you just imagine if the Waterfront Hall extension included some high quality and unique design elements like this....


Image from https://www.vandadundee.org


Image from http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com

We SHOULD have built something World Class to visually compliment the original Waterfront Hall building and the surrounding urban fabric, instead we got an extension that Asda would be proud of...

Or perhaps they should have left the Waterfront Hall the way it was and instead built a proper international convention/exhibition centre on one of those surface car park sites in North St?
 

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We SHOULD have built something World Class to visually compliment the original Waterfront Hall building and the surrounding urban fabric, instead we got an extension that Asda would be proud of...

Or perhaps they should have left the Waterfront Hall the way it was and instead built a proper international convention/exhibition centre on one of those surface car park sites in North St?
Yup agree with that. I seem to remember there was an original design for the waterfront hall extension that, although it was nothing spectacular, at least fitted in with the existing design. But somehow we ended up with what we have now instead.

Funnily enough I saw an article about the V&A Dundee a few days ago, I think it's just newly opening. Very nice building. I actually think I like it slightly better than the Titanic building, tho the Titanic building still looks very good.
 

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Yup agree with that. I seem to remember there was an original design for the waterfront hall extension that, although it was nothing spectacular, at least fitted in with the existing design.
It looked superior but wasn't big enough and didn't add much in terms of internal functionality as far as I recall.

The extension had to be built quickly and it shows externally. The council would have lost out on external financing for the project had it been delayed.
 

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Do you know why time was so tight to spend the money BUG did the council take too long to allocate the funds or was it only available for 12 months or something? I think they would have been better spending it on the concentrix building and turning it into a convention centre or as others have said just build it on one of the massive surface carparks maybe BCC did own the site on great Victoria Street at the time. It's just such a disgusting addition to Belfast and the waterfront hall in general. Had it been a private developer it would have been rejected immediately.
 

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I remember as a kid when the water front hall was opened it was meant to symbolise a new begining for Belfast which is part of the reason I am so annoyed about how it was defaced. Maybe it's meant to represent the current mess we a currently dealing with.
 

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Likewise Not Tall Enough. I took this pic the other day coz of the cool reflection (top marks to the architects for that at least)...


Image by @plank007 on SSC

But just noticed that they can't even be arsed to maintain the flower beds.... (go back 1 page and look at hypnotoads pics from a happier time)
If this building is bringing in 10s of millions of pounds each year to the local economy, why did they scrimp on the extension and why are they scrimping on maintenance :-(
 
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