A £29.5m new building due by 2016Janice Crowe, Customer Relations Manager, was brimming with good news about Belfast Waterfront Conference & Exhibition Centre on their stand at Confex 2014.
‘The markets are demanding more space from us’, she crowed (oops!), ‘and so we are actually doubling our floor space!’
The original building, circular and, as you might imagine, located directly on the waterfront in Northern Ireland’s capital city, was opened in 1997.
Janice showed us plans illustrating a new 3-storey angular building that will skirt round it. Work is scheduled to commence in August 2014. Construction, it is hoped, will be complete by December 2015, with the first events being held there in mid-2016.
The investment, estimated at £29.5m, will come from Belfast City Council (£11m) with Northern Ireland Enterprise Trade and Investment funding of £18.5m. Of this, the major part will be sourced from the European Regional Development Fund, with a lesser amount from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
Janice says that there will be an additional capacity of 4,000sqm that will allow the centre to bid for larger events and also for those with a wider variety of requirements. The facility will provide a hall on the ground floor of 1800sqm, a 2,000-seat auditorium, a 380-seat studio, 17 meeting/break-out rooms for 10 to 200 people and 4,900sqm of exhibition space.
‘The design’, says Janice with obvious relish, ‘will offer brilliant terrace views over the river.’ And she adds, significantly, that ‘it is calculated that Belfast Waterfront will then be contributing £39m a year to our local economy’.