New £75m Belfast development to have rooftop running track

Ex-‘Belfast Telegraph’ HQ to be refurbished to create space for more than 2,000 workers

The Sixth: computer-generated image shows planned view of the new Belfast office development from Cathedral Gardens.

The Sixth: computer-generated image shows planned view of the new Belfast office development from Cathedral Gardens.

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Plans have been submitted to create what is believed to be the first-ever rooftop running track in Ireland as part of a new £75 million (€84.3 million) regeneration project in Belfast.

The running track forms part of a recently submitted application to restore and refurbish a grade B2 listed 1886 building on Royal Avenue that served as the headquarters of the Belfast Telegraph newspaper for more than 100 years.

The building, designed by architect Henry Seaver, was acquired in late 2016 by a joint venture comprising Belfast City Council and Co Tyrone construction firm McAleer and Rushe.

The new office development will be known as The Sixth and includes 230,000sq ft of commercial space across seven floors. The project name was inspired by “Sixth Late Tele”, the call of the Telegraph’s street vendors when selling the evening edition.

It is expected The Sixth will create 650 jobs during construction, and more than 2,000 jobs when fully occupied.

‘Landmark status’

“The Sixth is a bold project, focused on the experience of its users and mindful of the site’s landmark status and importance as part of Belfast’s built heritage. We have taken cues from the surrounding buildings and the city’s lost Victorian arcades, and will restore features removed or lost from the original listed building.

“For example, we’re planning to reinstate the building’s main access on to Royal Avenue and reintroduce dormer windows removed from the original roofline,” said Paul Monaghan founding director of architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

A full planning application and associated listed building consent on behalf of Bel Tel LLP has been submitted by national planning and development consultancy Turley to Belfast City Council. Subject to planning approval, work is expected to begin in late 2018.

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