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Great Victoria Street Market expected to become first instalment of Weavers Cross project

Published on 6 June 2024

The Europa bus centre in Belfast looks set to transformed into a new food market under plans by the developer McAleer and Rushe.

Translink is due to close the city centre bus station in the Autumn, with all bus and rail services transferred to the new £340 million Belfast Grand Central Station.

The closure of the depot is expected to result in a sharp drop off in footfall through the Great Northern Mall, which is currently the main entry point for bus passengers via Great Victoria Street.

The mall has already been hit by the closure of Great Victoria Street train station on May 10.

But the former transport hub could soon be transformed into a new food destination known as Great Victoria Street Market.

McAleer and Rushe’s development arm, MRP, was appointed last year by Translink as its private sector partner to develop the 30 acres around the new transport hub, known as Weavers Cross.

MRP has already tasked Savills with finding food market traders for the new market concept.

It’s understood the property firm has been inundated with enquiries to date. The County Tyrone construction giant, which also owns the Great Northern Mall, is now finalising a planning application for the proposed food destination. Savills has already launched the search for food traders for the new Great Victoria Street Market. 

It’s expected to become the first instalment in the Weavers Cross regeneration scheme, which could eventually see 1.3 million square feet of offices, housing, retail and, leisure space developed around Grand Central Station over a 20-year period.

Built in 1991 as the Belfast terminus for Ulsterbus ‘Goldline’ services, Translink has not yet announced a date for the closure of the Europa bus centre. But the transport company is working on the basis that it will be shut before the winter.

The Grand Central Station will initially open later this year with 16 bus stands, with the number due to increase to 26 in 2025. Pedestrian access to Grand Central Station will initially be via Grosvenor Road and Glengall Street.

It’s hoped that MRP’s plans will help reassure existing tenants of the Great Northern Mall and help fill some of its vacant units.

The food market concept has been inspired by the success of similar Belfast ventures such as Common Market in the Cathedral Quarter and Trademarket on Dublin Road. Trademarket, which is set to close on the former Movie House Cinema site at the end of July, is currently looking for a new location.

It’s unclear at this point whether the Great Victoria Street Market will be licensed to serve alcohol.

'The Irish News' understands that the project does not currently have a licence, but is examining future possibilities.

Source: Irish News (link opens in new window)