Developer states desire to restore Floral Hall to former glory
13 Mar 2018
Hotel and property developer Signature Living has stated its desire to acquire Belfast’s Floral Hall and restore it for use as “a leading entertainment, conference and wedding venue” in the city.
Sited within the grounds of Belfast Zoo, the Floral Hall was built in the mid-1930s and was one of Belfast’s foremost entertainment venues for over 35 years – both as a dance hall, and later as a venue for bands such as Pink Floyd and roller discos. Now owned by Belfast City Council, the venue has been closed to the public since the 1970s. It is estimated that an investment of around £5million would be required to restore it to a useable state.
Speaking to an audience of investors, developers and occupiers today at the MIPIM international property investment conference in Cannes, Signature Living’s founder and chairman Lawrence Kenwright spoke of his ambitions to restore the “gem in Belfast’s social and cultural history to its former glory.”
“I immediately fell in love with the Floral Hall and its rich history as ‘The Ballroom of Romance’ in Belfast when I first saw it several months ago,” he said. “That so many love stories originate there is very special and, understandably, there is clearly a huge amount of affection for the building within the Belfast and wider Northern Ireland community.
“Today at MIPIM, I am publicly stating my desire to acquire the Floral Hall from Belfast City Council and to invest in bringing it back to use as a unique venue for future generations to enjoy in the way that their parents, grandparents and even great-parents did for so many years in its heyday.
“This is what Signature Living does best – sympathetically restoring precious, heritage buildings and simply acting as their custodian, once again giving them a place in culture and tourism for the enjoyment of local people and tourists.”
Gerry Millar, Director of Property and Projects at Belfast City Council, commented: “At this stage we have not entered into formal discussions about the Floral Hall with any investor or developer and disposal of this council-owned asset would be strictly subject to due process first.”
“However, the council is keen to see Floral Hall restored and is open to receiving proposals from any party interested in exploring this opportunity further.”
Liverpool-headquartered Signature Living is behind the new George Best Hotel in Belfast’s Scottish Mutual Building and the new Lanyon Hotel in the Crumlin Road Courthouse, and this week also unveiled plans for the new Waring Hotel in Waring Street in the city centre. Lawrence Kenwright first encountered Belfast at MIPIM in 2016 and has since committed to investing at least £100million in the city, creating over 400 jobs.