22/08/2019

Retail NI Welcomes Primark Progress

Almost a year since the iconic Bank Buildings that once housed Primark were destroyed by fire, Retail NI has welcomed the progress in rejuvenating the area.

Parts of the surrounding roads were cordoned off for months following the devastating blaze, with shops and restaurants closed. All businesses had reopened by mid June, with the exception of City Picnic on Castle Street. Pedestrian access between Donegall Place and Royal Avenue has also been fully restored, and the roads reopened to traffic.

Retail NI said the progress follows a challenging year for city centre traders, particularly those in Castle Street and within the cordon.

"This whole crisis has shown just how resilient city centre traders really are," Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said.

"We are making solid progress in restoring that part of the City Centre, but we must go further and faster.
News Image
"While the fire was a terrible tragedy, the one positive from it was that it has turbo charged a new debate amongst consumers, traders and political leaders about what type of City Centre we want for the future."

Retail NI also called for a "bold, radical and new vision" to be harnessed for 21st Century Belfast City Centre.

Mr Roberts continued: "Looking to the future it has to be more inclusive, accessible and more family-friendly for shoppers and tourists. Retail NI is very ambitious for Belfast and we believe that a 21st Century city centre can be created with a dynamic retail and hospitality offer.

"Above all else, it also needs to be a fun place for families to visit and enjoy.

"Retail NI is ambitious for Belfast and with the right level of support and an enabling policy framework, the city could become one of the UK and Ireland's top retail destinations.

"In our discussions with Government, Retail NI will continue to lobby for a wider City Rejuvenation Fund to make this radical new vision a reality."



(JG/CM)

Related Northern Ireland Business News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 July 2009
Belfast 'Twelfth' Was Shopping Hit
Initial feedback on the commercial impact of Belfast shops being open over the traditional 'Twelfth' celebration has been excellent. This year's event, titled 'Orangefest' on 13 July witnessed Belfast city centre shops opening on the day of the parades for the first time.
24 September 2010
Bangor Sainsbury's Development Boosts Jobs
Development work will begin on a major superstore project in Bangor at the beginning of October, creating and securing dozens of construction jobs. The property expert who secured the deal to bring the Sainsbury's supermarket giant to Balloo Retail Park said that it will be a significant boost for the scheme and the local area.
10 August 2012
Minister Meets Businessman Benefitting From Empty Retail Premises Relief
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has congratulated a local man from Lisburn who is benefitting from the recently introduced discount for empty retail premises. Mr Desmond Storey has opened a sewing alterations shop in Smithfield Square in Lisburn and will now benefit from a 50% discount on his rates for 12 months.
03 July 2012
Dobson Welcomes Decision To Withdraw Legal Action Against Tesco Store
Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has welcomed the decision by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Traders Association (NIIRTA) to withdraw its Judicial Review application against the proposed out of town Tesco store at Bridgewater Park in Banbridge.
17 April 2015
NIIRTA Launches New 'Retail First' Report
The Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has launched a new report to embrace the 'City Deal' concept. SDLP Foyle Westminster candidate Mark H Durkan welcomed the launch of the 'Retail First' report. A 'City Deal' is a UK-wide government initiative which aims to help a city or region boost investment, promote growth and create jobs.