Date: 01 Nov 2022
Category: City regeneration and development
The long-awaited reopening of Primark at The Bank Buildings in Belfast takes place this morning and will be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black. The newly refurbished flagship store represents an investment of £100 million to renovate and restore this iconic building in the centre of Belfast city and bring it back to its full glory, as part of Primark’s ongoing commitment to Northern Ireland
The retailer has created almost 300 new jobs at the bigger and better Primark store, including permanent and temporary seasonal positions, which will provide a significant boost to the local economy. This brings the total number of employees at Primark Bank Buildings to 500, making it one of the biggest retail employers in the city.
Shoppers are expected to queue from early hours to be first through the doors of the newly refurbished five-storey beautiful retail space in the heart of Belfast city centre, which opens its doors to excited customers this morning at 10am.
Commenting at the reopening of Bank Buildings, Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tina Black said: “It’s really wonderful to be here today to see the reopening of this iconic Belfast building. As a former Primark employee myself, I have many happy memories of working here during my university years, and now a new chapter begins for the staff. When the fire devastated Bank Buildings back in 2018, it was hard to imagine ever reaching this point; but over the last few years, we’ve witnessed the painstaking work that has gone in to restoring this beautiful heritage building and like everyone, I’m thrilled to see it reopen its doors today, with the added boost of creating new jobs.
“While the fire was undoubtedly a devastating event for our city and businesses, it also marked something of a watershed moment because it brought together elected members and city partners to work together to find solutions. Over the last number of years, we have been able to trial new ideas and initiatives to support recovery and regeneration, and I know that partnership working will continue in the weeks and months ahead.”
Today’s reopening is a poignant moment for Primark, and the city of Belfast, following the August 2018 fire that gutted the interior of the 237-year-old heritage listed building and left the feature façade badly damaged. Over the past four years, major building renovation works were undertaken by Primark with the support of hundreds of crafts and tradespeople, including over 40 expert stone masons from across the UK and Ireland, who were tasked with carving new stone works and repairing existing stone as part of the restoration. All the stone and marble on the building’s new façade was sourced from quarries in Finland, Scotland and Portugal, the same quarries from where the materials for the original structure were sourced in the 18th century.
Primark Northern Ireland Area Manager Jacqui Byers added: “Today is a great celebration, not only for Primark, but for all of Belfast following years of hard work to recover and rebuild Bank Buildings. It is fantastic to have reached this day and return to our home in Belfast, bringing our colleagues back together under one roof with a store that is bigger and better than ever before.
“As we finally reopen, we wish to thank our colleagues, customers, the business community, and the wider city of Belfast once again for their continued support over the past four years. Restoring Bank Buildings has been a passion project for Primark, completed in partnership with the wider city of Belfast and our amazing team of crafts and tradespeople - it has been a true team effort. This is a proud moment for us, and it is a testament to every individual involved that we welcome shoppers back today.”
Returning to its original site in Belfast City Centre, Primark Bank Buildings has now merged with the existing Castle Street store to create a new flagship store, which is 76 per cent bigger in size compared to the original site. The store features 88,200 sq. ft. of fantastic retail space, including a brand-new immersive Disney experience, the first of its kind in a Primark store setting, where customers will find a Primark Café with Disney, Disney photo moments, and a dedicated Disney department for adults, kids and homeware, all located on the second floor of the store.
The store will also feature a new nail and beauty studio for customers, operated by Nails (TM), and a new fifth floor space which is home to a brand-new Home department offering Primark’s full homeware range of accessories, bedding and small furniture to customers in Belfast for the first time.
Customers can also shop the full range of Autumn Winter trends, partywear, Christmas gifting ideas and its great value essentials across women’s, men’s, kids’ and homeware, beauty, and accessories all in one place at Primark Bank Buildings.
Committed to investing further in Northern Ireland, Primark also recently confirmed details of the opening of its brand-new store in Rushmere Shopping Centre, Craigavon, which will open its doors on Friday 16 December to customers and will be the retailer’s 9th store in Northern Ireland.