Translink launches search for Master Developer Partner to deliver its £400 million Weavers Cross scheme in Belfast
Translink, Northern Ireland’s public transport provider, has launched a global procurement process to identify a master developer partner for its exciting £400 million Weavers Cross development set to transform Belfast city centre’s social, economic and environmental fabric.
At its heart will be the new 160,000 sq.ft. GEA Belfast Transport Hub, the largest integrated transport facility on the island of Ireland due to open in 2024. With an expected annual footfall of over 20million this important NI Executive funded flagship project will bring a host of benefits for urban regeneration acting as a key driver of economic growth and prosperity for Belfast and Northern Ireland.
Combined with its advantageous location, just five minutes walk from the city centre, it has direct links to international airports and rail and bus links to Dublin offering dual access to both UK and European markets. This unique opportunity is a key draw for any potential investor.
The Weavers Cross proposal stretches to 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use office, residential, hotel and retail/leisure space, presenting a chance to transform and regenerate a current brownfield site and create a new destination in the heart of the city.
Translink is seeking a private sector partner with the financial means and relevant experience, skills and resources to realise the vision for Weavers Cross. The partner should also be able to demonstrate a long-term partnership approach, place making, creativity and a detailed understanding of how best to deliver Weavers Cross, while exhibiting strong social value credentials to deliver tangible and lasting positive social, economic and environmental impact.
When completed, it is estimated Weavers Cross will stimulate additional spending in the Northern Ireland economy of more than £1 billion.
Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive, Translink, said: “Weavers Cross is one of the most exciting prospects to come to the market for some time. The unique site will be a catalyst, to positively reimagine this area creating an impressive gateway for the city. By establishing a new, high quality mixed use development, providing modern economic infrastructure, it will afford opportunities for businesses to invest and grow.
“We are leading a transport transformation in NI and want a partner who will share our strong environmental and sustainability goals, joining us on our race to zero by 2040 as part of our strategy to be climate positive by 2050. Working in partnership we aim to accelerate our action on the climate crisis and create a cleaner and healthier environment for all.
“These benefits, coupled with the enhanced connectivity created by the hub should attract new occupiers over other locations in the city making it an exceptional development opportunity with all the ingredients for success.”
Adam White, Senior Director at CBRE, said: “Weavers Cross will not only be transformational for Belfast and Northern Ireland, but represents a once in a lifetime opportunity to partner on a transport led regeneration project in a key city centre location.
“Other transport led regeneration projects have demonstrated that premium values are often secured as a direct consequence of the complimentary transport linkages and we expect Belfast to follow this pattern. We believe Weavers Cross is likely to benefit from this trend given its situation in the heart of Belfast, the resurgence of the Northern Ireland economy, and its backing by a range of key political and public sector stakeholders.
“Significant infrastructure and public realm upgrades will also be completed as part of the Belfast Transport Hub programme; significantly reducing the private sector’s upfront capital requirements at Weavers Cross”.
“Rarely do opportunities such as this present themselves and I would encourage potential partners with the right exemplars, experience and attributes to get in touch with CBRE to discuss how they can partner Translink.”
Developers may find further details about the opportunity and submit an expression of interest via the eTendersNI portal www.etendersni.gov.uk from late June 2021
Notes to editors
- As a transport-led regeneration project, the Belfast Transport Hub is a hugely important NI Executive Flagship Project delivering on the ambitions of the Programme for Government (PfG).
- The development will benefit significantly from having the Belfast Transport Hub at its centre, the largest transport hub on the island of Ireland, which will see annual footfall from over 20 million public transport passengers, enhancing connectivity with bus, coach and rail links across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and beyond.
- Belfast is a vibrant, innovative city with a young and skilled talent pool, major institutions and successful visitor economy.
- The city hosts a burgeoning tech and innovation sector; and is expected to benefit from further ‘north shoring’.
- Significant rental growth is anticipated over the next five-to-10 years with prime yields currently standing at 5.25%, as evidenced by the recent sale of Merchant Square.
- The Weavers Cross scheme enjoys strong political support – locally and from Central Government.
- The Belfast Region City Deal commits £700m of public investment; and the UK Government has recently made a commitment to move Whitehall departments to a number of regional cities and towns, including Belfast.
- Translink has prepared a lean and meritocratic selection process in order to keep bid costs down and interest sharp.
- The Northern Ireland Investment Fund is actively looking for opportunities to invest.
- More information can be found at www.weaverscross.co.uk.
Chris Conway, Chief Executive at Translink, on the site of the new integrated Belfast Transport Hub, part of the transformational Weavers Cross development.