15th March 2022
Plans submitted to regenerate the prime Belfast city centre location on the corner of Royal Avenue and Gresham Street
Leisure and hospitality firm, Vertigo Group has submitted plans to breathe new life into the site of the Haymarket bar and surrounding units on the corner of Royal Avenue and Gresham Street in a total investment of £3M in the Union and Smithfield area of Belfast City Centre.
The Group, which currently owns and operates leisure facilities We Are Vertigo in Newtownbreda and Titanic Park, as well as outdoor hospitality venue Cargo by Vertigo, has recently purchased the site having held the lease on Haymarket since July 2021.
Following an investment of £1.5M last year, the group will be investing a further £1.5M in the proposed plans which have been submitted to Belfast City Council. Spanning 24,000 sq feet, the plans include various hospitality venues, bars and restaurants creating a dynamic network of nightlife spots on a site where many of the units have lain vacant for years.
The new venues will see the creation of 50 new permanent jobs and support 40 during construction.
Gareth Murphy, Chief Executive of Vertigo Group, said,
“The plans we have for the rejuvenation of the Royal Avenue and Gresham Street site are really exciting and breathe life into an area of the city which has long been neglected. Following the success of Haymarket, we plan to create a dining and nightlife hotspot with several restaurant and bar areas within the site catering to a variety of different customers. Through the project we hope to attract footfall to the Union and Smithfield area and to attract more investment into expanding the city’s night-time economy. The location will further benefit from Belfast City Council’s plans to build the ‘Belfast Stories’ cultural hub in the former Bank of Ireland building on the opposite corner, drawing additional footfall to the area.”
Dating back to the 19th Century, the name Haymarket harkens back to when the iconic building was a hay market. More recently the site of the Hudson Bar, the Group’s transformation of the building in 2021 into the highly popular bar and street food venue kickstarted the redevelopment plans for the surrounding area as the group seeks to expand its hospitality portfolio.
“Our commitment to the development of Belfast as a leisure and tourist destination is at the heart of our organisation and we are thrilled to be rejuvenating such an iconic area. We have taken care to ensure that the regeneration plans maintain the integrity and celebrate the history of the site. This city is full of stunning architecture and a rich history, and as part of our plans we have included tributes to the area’s past to preserve and honour that history.”