On Saturday 31 March 2012, The Titanic Signature Building, now known as Titanic Belfast, was opened at Queens Island in Belfast following three years in construction.  The 97 million pounds development was opened in time for the Titanic centenary year.

The signature building was designed by a team of international designers including Eric Kuhn and Associates as well as a local Irish firm Todd Architects and was developed by Dublin based company, Harcourt Construction.

The architectural design of the building incorporates iconic elements representing the Titanic bow, ice crystals and White Star Line insignia.  It has been constructed next to the slipway where the Titanic was born in 1911.

The landmark tourism project comprises nine ‘high tech’ interactive galleries celebrating the world’s most famous ship and the illustrious maritime and industrial heritage of Belfast.

Titanic Belfast will include “a ‘Titanic Experience’ exhibition, a ‘Flying Theatre’ which allows visitors a birds eye view across Northern Ireland, a Titanic-themed banqueting suite and a community arts facility for local exhibitions, performances and conferences“.  Recreations of cabins with hologram projections of passengers, a recreation of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, a replica grand staircase in the banqueting suite as well as projections showing images of the wreck of the Titanic will all be on show within the new building.

Titanic Belfast is part of the redevelopment of the 75 hectares Titanic Quarter in east Belfast.  This redevelopment is one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects transforming the site into a “new mixed use maritime quarter with a mile of water frontage and a range of investment opportunities”. The redevelopment site is on former shipbuilding land from where the Titanic and sister ship Olympic were built and launched.

As outlined in the Titanic Quarter Development Strategy, the redevelopment when completed will include:

  • up to 5000 dwellings including apartments and townhouses;
  • a high quality business quarter with a total floor space of 180,000 square metres;
  • commercial development of 130,000 square metres;
  • the Titanic Signature project;
  • a major third level education campus;
  • the restoration of the former Harland and Wolff head-quarters;
  • the creation of a ‘Gateway’ hotel at the entrance to Titanic Quarter;
  • leisure developments including restaurants, café / bars and health and fitness clubs up to 41,000 square metres;
  • other commercial uses including a high quality car retail park;
  • the provision of a cruise liner berth and ancillary facilities for tourism;
  • local services and business support including local retail, health care, crèches and day nurseries.

Titanic Quarter Master Plan was developed in 2005 and creates a “blueprint for the development of Titanic Quarter into a world-class waterfront location”.  The Master Plan divides the redevelopment of the Titanic Quarter into five Phases.

Phase 1

Phase 1 will include:

  • 93,000 square metres of mixed-use development adjacent to the Odyssey Arena and Pavilion;
  • The Gateway Office development at the entrance to Titanic Quarter;
  • the ‘Arc’ residential complex containing a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments;
  • a new third level education campus for Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.

Phase 2

Phase 2 will include:

  • 307,000 square metres of mixed-use development offering residential, commercial, retail and leisure facilities;
  • the development of the Titanic Signature Project (Titanic Belfast) and the restoration of the former Harland and Wolff headquarters building;
  • the restoration of the RMS Titanic and RMS Olympic slipways.

Phases 3 to 5

Phases 3 to 5 are at the conceptual design stage.

Works within the Titanic Quarter completed to date include the Titanic Belfast signature building which was opened at the end of March 2011, the Belfast Metropolitan Quarter Campus opened in 2011, the Premier Inn Hotel opened in 2010, the Gateway Office opened in 2009 and at the end of last year there were 300 residents living in the Arc residential development.

The Titanic Quarter Arc residential development has been named at the national Property Awards in London as one of the top five developments in the United Kingdom while the regeneration and development of the Titanic Quarter has received an award for Best Regeneration Project at the Belfast Business Awards ceremony.

Enquiries Laura O’Higgins (lao@colliepl.com.au)