Plans are finally under way to design and build a major retail site in east Belfast at the former Rolls Royce factory.
Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s had planned to open a store at the Dundonald site on the Upper Newtownards Road, but pulled the plugged two years ago.
The retailer had planned to lease a 60,000sq ft unit at the site which is due to be redeveloped by the property firm Lagmar.
Now, Belfast firm Turley is set to present plans for redeveloping the entire site.
It’s understood they will include a ‘mixed use’ scheme, which could include a business park, retail units and housing.
Now an exhibition of the early plans will be unveiled to the public from today at Dundonald Library.
Those behind the new scheme say the event “provides an opportunity for members of the public to view initial plans for the redevelopment of the site”.
Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle welcomed early progress made on plans for the area, which could eventually see the site undergo significant redevelopment.
“I welcome the chance for the public to find out more about these development plans and would encourage people to take part in order to receive as much information as possible,” he said.
“It is a great opportunity for an area that deserves and needs economic opportunity.”
The developers behind the scheme did not wish to comment on the early progress.
There remains existing planning permission for a supermarket on the site after Sainsbury’s pulled out in 2013.
Sainsbury’s first announced its plans in 2009, but four years later said they were no longer viable.
It cited a combination of factors including the current economic climate.
The whole scheme was approved by former Environment Minister Alex Attwood in 2013.
The site was expected to bring a boost to the local area by creating an estimated £7.7m in wages at the construction stage. That also included up to 1,000 full and part-time jobs once the site would have been fully operational.
Speaking at the time, Sainsbury’s NI development manager Andrew Sanderson said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but regrettably a combination of factors mean that this site is no longer a viable option for a Sainsbury’s store.”
Caption: The number of single-use plastic bags handed out by UK supermarkets increased for the fifth year running to 8.5 billion