A £2m bid was launched earlier this month to turn a small plot of land in Belfast City Centre into an 11-storey ‘green’ apartment block.
If the project gets the go ahead from Belfast City Council‘s planning department, 10 apartments could be built in a compact empty space between the Ibis Hotel and College Central apartment complex, close to CastleCourt shopping centre.
Subject to planning approval, the narrow development would create a ground floor lobby/amenity area, with each of the 10 floors above housing a 36 sq m single-bedroom apartment.
The site was placed on the market by CBRE last year with a list price of £125,000 and was bought by Yorkshire-based Amstel Developments.
Philip Lee of Arcus Architects, who designed the project, said the developer had given Arcus “a free hand” to be creative with the project. “It is quite innovative in terms of what is achievable in Belfast. It is going to break down a number of boundaries.”
He believed too many residential developments failed to respond to the city environment and described the proposal as “innovative” and “environmentally responsible”.
He suggested that its energy-saving nature could see it even send power back to the grid.
The design concept for the project suggests that the high-rise block could return an energy surplus to the grid through solar panels on the roof.
“It’s probably going to be the first high-rise green building in Belfast, which means its energy usage is going to be incredibly low. We’re trapping energy within the building, we’re storing energy within the building, we’re not releasing energy into the atmosphere,” Mr Lee explained.
Mr Lee continued: “Belfast’s planning office are looking for innovation within the city centre.
“It creates a very minimal footprint on the environment within the city, but also gives people the enjoyment of living in the city centre.”
The document continued that along with ‘integrated heat recovery systems and advanced heat pump technologies’, this could make it ‘one of the most environmentally conscious tall buildings in Belfast’.
Adding that the city needed to catch up with its European neighbours, he said: “Belfast needs those little bits that sparkle around the city centre that make people react and start thinking about their city.”