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A renewed ambition for global investment in the Belfast Region

February 18, 2021

In a renewed ambition, five councils behind the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) have come together to launch their portfolio of exciting real estate development opportunities within their areas with the aim of attracting global investment, boosting tourism and creating sustainable regeneration.

The Belfast Region Investment Guide showcases 27 opportunities suitable for industrial, logistics, regeneration, or tourism development which have been identified by the councils of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Mid and East Antrim, Newry, Mourne and Down and Lisburn and Castlereagh City.

They include Hillsborough as destination with a focus on Tourism growth, the former Downpatrick Police Station, the former Crepe Weavers site in Newtownards, the St Patrick’s Barracks site in Ballymena, Belfast International Airport and Whitespots Country Park.

Detailing the potential uses for each site, the guide will be used to market the real estate opportunities to developers and investors, both locally and overseas. It sets out the reasons to invest in the Belfast region – from a highly skilled workforce to excellent digital connectivity, and transport infrastructure to competitive operating costs – and provides compelling evidence for why ‘Now is the right time to invest in the Northern Ireland real estate market’.

It is the next step in the progression of the BRCD which brings together the six councils – along with Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Belfast Metropolitan College, Northern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College and Southern Regional College – with the overriding aim of creating more and better jobs and attracting investment.

The Belfast Region Investment Guide will help achieve that latter aim, and will also boost tourism and regenerate the region, a key pillar in the BRCD proposition.

Stephen Reid, Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, speaking on behalf of the BRCD councils, said:

“The Belfast Region Investment Guide is a crucial tool to help us sell the investment opportunities within the region to a global audience. By attracting investors and developers to these sites, we will be able to boost tourism and regenerate the area which makes up the Belfast Region City Deal, and that of Northern Ireland plc.

“As a whole, the sites on offer make a compelling proposition and we expect to pique the interest of investors from all quarters. Many of these are iconic sites with significant potential to offering a solid return and will prove transformational for the economies and communities within which they sit.

“We’re excited to be launching the guide and to be taking the next steps on our journey with the BRCD. Real estate investment is a critical part of the ambitious plan and will allow us to reach our overriding aim of creating jobs and prosperity for all.”

The Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee, Alderman Jim Dillon, MBE, was keen to lend his support for the Investment Guide and said: “Showcasing some of our commercial sites that are available for investment right now is a great opportunity to demonstrate to Investors and Developers the potential of Lisburn Castlereagh.   The sites at Knockbracken Health Park, Laganbank Quarter, Knockmore/Lissue lands and Balmoral Park present real and lasting investment opportunities and the development of these sites is very much part of the council’s agenda to deliver tangible and sustainable economic growth at the same time as enhancing community pride.   The opportunity for tourism and leisure developments in Hillsborough would also build on the planned Belfast Region City Deal investment aimed at enhancing our unique and authentic offering.”

The Belfast Region City Deal was formally announced by the Chancellor in November 2018 and will see the UK Government invest £350 million into the Belfast Region, with a further co-investment of upwards of £150 million from Belfast Region City Deal partners. In May 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive confirmed that it will provide match funding of £350 million towards the Deal.

This investment is intended to help strengthen the region’s business offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries, and advanced manufacturing. It will also support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of our region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

The Belfast Region Investment Guide is available to download from