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Funding still available for commercial property owners to take city centre spaces from vacant to vibrant

Date: 23 Apr 2024

Category: City regeneration and development

Aerial view of Royal Avenue and Donegall Place.

Commercial owners who have vacant properties in Belfast city centre, and occupiers hoping to take up vacant space in the city centre, are being encouraged to apply for funding from Belfast City Council.

The ‘Vacant to Vibrant’ scheme offers capital grants of up to £25,000 to cover external and internal works, as well as equipment to make the property fit for use.

Councillor ClĂ­odhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “We’ve already awarded over £300,000 to 17 Vacant to Vibrant applications so far, including High Society Cut Club, Skull and Bones Tattoo Studio, Hench Gym, Flax Art Studios and Verona Bridal. That investment has helped to create approximately 60 employment opportunities, as well as bringing vibrancy and occupancy to properties with long-term vacancy.

“Vacant to Vibrant is not only providing a significant boost for local independent businesses, organisations, and commercial property owners, it’s having a significant positive impact on our wider supply chain and city economy and making Belfast a more attractive place to live, work, study, visit and invest in.

“The scheme is also helping to restore historic buildings and buildings of interest and enhancing our streetscapes.

“I’d encourage any commercial owners who have a city centre property that’s been vacant for 12 months or more to get in touch with our team to see if we can help them bring their building back to life.”

Estate agent Frazer Kidd is on standby to help with finding suitable tenants or meanwhile uses for the property.

Applicants will also benefit from wraparound support from the council’s Enterprise and Business Growth team, providing resources to support the start-up or expansion of the business or organisation, including access to one-to-one mentoring and workshops to help with growth and long-term sustainability.

To be eligible for funding, the city centre property must have been vacant for at least 12 months.

Interested parties can email vacanttovibrant@belfastcity, for further information or visit

Applications to the Vacant to Vibrant scheme close on 31 July 2024.

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