Weavers Cross transport-led regeneration project in Belfast
Located alongside the largest fully integrated transport hub on the island of Ireland, Weavers Cross is a once in a generation opportunity to ‘regenerate through reconnection'.
The multi-million pound publicly funded Belfast Grand Central Station will facilitate 20 million passenger journeys a year as the beating heart of the Weavers Cross scheme.
Translink have now appointed MRP as the Private Sector Master Development Partner for the wider Weavers Cross site, 1.3+ million square feet of mixed-use space within a five-minute walk of Belfast City Hall.
Capital investment - real estate
(Greener buildings, Zero emission vehicles, Real estate, Residential, Mixed use, Offices, Retail, leisure & creative, Infrastructure)
Translink and MRP
£500 million GDV
Outline planning obtained
Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):
Sector and market opportunity
Belfast Grand Central Station is a Northern Ireland Executive flagship project. It is fully publicly funded and construction is under way with operational opening planned for late 2024.
This project comprises a mixed use/multi-sector opportunity arranged over a range of sites near Belfast Grand Central Station under the same ownership.
This allows a risk-averse, phased approach to development, in line with market demand. Find the latest research on all sectors at CBRE.
Northern Ireland is uniquely positioned within the UK in that it has retained barrier-free access to the European Union.
The opportunity enjoys a prime location within an established commercial part of Belfast City Centre, Northern Ireland’s capital city.
The addition of the publicly funded transport hub will generate some of the highest footfall in the country when it opens in late 2024.
Weavers Cross benefits from excellent road, rail and air connectivity right across the UK, Ireland and beyond.
It’s only a 1 hour flight from London and under 2 hours’ drive to Dublin, as well as just minutes by car from the M1 and M2 motorways, the Port of Belfast, Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Airport.
Belfast Grand Central Station will facilitate travel throughout Northern Ireland by both rail and bus. It will also welcome the Enterprise Service, a direct rail service running from Belfast to Dublin city centre, as well as cross-border coach services to Dublin and Dublin Airport.
Weavers Cross will be integrated with the popular cross-city Glider service, an innovative bus rapid transit system linking the east and west of Belfast. A further Glider service linking the north and south of Belfast is currently being advanced.
Weavers Cross also has strong cycling and pedestrian links within the Belfast area.
Belfast has the highest availability of superfast broadband in the UK and the fastest direct broadband link from Europe to North America.
Local talent and skills
About 61% of all jobs in Northern Ireland are in Belfast. The region has a young population, with 53% of the population under 40.
Over 70% of companies choose to reinvest in Northern Ireland and it is already home to more than 1,100 international investors, including Allstate, Citi, Seagate, Spirit AeroSystems, and FinTrU.
Two world-leading universities are within walking distance of Weavers Cross; over 73% of their research is deemed world leading or internationally excellent. Two hospitals are also a short walk away, each with considerable R&D opportunities.
It is an integral, uniquely positioned part of the UK and is the ideal location to grow your company. Its combination of a business-friendly environment, highly skilled workforce, quality skills pipeline, excellent infrastructure, and unique market access offer a compelling proposition for your business. Over 1,300 international companies across a range of sectors are based in Northern Ireland (NISRA, 2023). The region has a long-standing history of international trade performance, hosts globally recognised universities and offers investors unfettered access to both the UK and European Union markets.
Research and expertise
Belfast Grand Central Station at Weavers Cross is a Northern Ireland Executive flagship project and is seen as a major catalyst for the entire region.
The project enjoys support from public sector stakeholders such as Belfast City Council, The Executive Office, Department for Infrastructure, Translink, Invest Northern Ireland, and the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).
DBT Minister Graham Stuart helped launch marketing for the project in Autumn 2020 with key local stakeholders and prospective development partner bidders. The project continues to receive support from DBT Ministers with project site visits from both Lord Grimstone and most recently Lord Johnson.
Northern Ireland is the world’s top region for financial services technology investment.
It holds the top position as an international investment location for US cyber security firms and is known for its business-friendly attitude.
Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) highlights
Transport has a significant role to play in reaching net zero both regionally and globally. Translink will lead the transformation and accelerate Northern Ireland’s public transport towards net zero emissions, contributing to a healthier, greener and more sustainable future for generations to come, and Belfast Grand Central Station will play a significant part in this.
Translink plans to make the most efficient use of resources in order to cut out waste and protect our natural heritage. The organisation wants to reduce fleet emissions by 50% by 2030, be net zero by 2040, and climate positive by 2050. It will also promote zero emission technology across the transport sector.
To contribute to this pledge, Translink have introduced Northern Ireland’s first hydrogen-powered double-decker buses, supplied by Wrightbus, a Northern Irish company.
The buses emit only water and will be 100% powered by wind energy. Energia Group will supply this renewably sourced hydrogen from an onshore Northern Irish windfarm.
Weavers Cross will contribute to this net zero focus by delivering cutting-edge and well-designed buildings, infrastructure, and places.
Through its partnership approach, potential investors will create a project of material social value and credentials due to the delivery of long lasting positive social, community and environmental impact.
Promoters and partnerships
Translink is the project’s public sector promoter and Northern Ireland’s public transport provider, operating bus and train services across the region.
As the appointed master-development partner, MRP will deliver the Weavers Cross development with the potential for 1.3 million square feet of mixed-use office, life sciences, residential, student housing, hotels and retail/leisure space. This presents a unique opportunity to transform and regenerate a current brownfield site and create a new destination in the heart of the city.
The vision for Weavers Cross is a bold one, marrying world-class urban design that incorporates the very latest sustainable practices to create a new neighbourhood for Belfast that will impact positively on all of Northern Ireland.
Local and national government support
Belfast Grand Central Station at Weavers Cross is supported by the Northern Ireland Executive as a flagship project. The Belfast Grand Central Station scheme is fully publicly funded and construction is under way.
In partnership with Northern Ireland central government bodies, Translink is considering securing 9,300 square metres of office space.
Translink is also in discussions with the Northern Ireland Investment Fund, which has expressed strong interest in providing funding for the early phases of Weavers Cross to further de-risk the project.
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