Published Friday, 11 October 2013
Carole Souter and Nicky Dunn pictured at the Titanic drawing offices. (© UTV)
The former Harland and Wolff headquarters and a former private member's club in Londonderry are among the first the UK to benefit from Heritage Lottery Fund's (HLF) new funding programme, Heritage Enterprise.
The Harland and Wolff Headquarters Building and Drawing Offices on Queen's Island were the control centre for the largest shipyard in the world.
It was there that Belfast workers created and designed over 1000 ships including the White Star Olympic Class Liners - Olympic, Titanic and Britannic and naval warships such as HMS Belfast.
The building has been vacant since 1989 and has been considered 'at risk' for almost a decade.
The offices will be opened to the public but most of the building is set to become a luxury 87-bedroom boutique hotel which will create 109 jobs.
Nicky Dunn, Chair of Titanic Foundation Limited, welcomed the investment: "We are delighted that our application to HLF's Heritage Enterprise fund has been successful.
"The former Harland and Wolff Headquarters Building and Drawing Offices are one of the most authentic and tangible links to narrating Belfast and Northern Ireland's maritime and industrial heritage.
"The Titanic Foundation has worked in partnership with Titanic Quarter Limited to develop a new use for what we regard as a national icon. We are committed to maximising both the heritage and commercial opportunities, promoting preservation, public access as well as tourism and wider economic benefits."
The investment is part of an UK-wide funding package worth £12m that will transform five important but neglected historic buildings back to commercial use, creating economic growth in five local areas and an estimated 230 full-time equivalent jobs by attracting private investment.
This is part of a wider investment of at least £125m over the next five years.
Heritage Enterprise will help fund vital repairs and conservation works to these historic buildings, converting them into safe, usable and inspirational spaces for new businesses.
The Lottery grants will transform the neglected buildings into productive enterprises to create local jobs and generate wealth.
Commenting on the announcement, HLF Chief Executive, Carole Souter, said: "This multi-million pound investment in Northern Ireland's heritage will enable two iconic local buildings to be brought back to life and have their potential as tourist assets and catalysts for wider regeneration achieved, and we are delighted to be involved."
The Northern Counties club in Derry~Londonderry is located on Bishop's Street within the Conservation Area and was originally developed as two buildings before it was remodelled around the year 1902.
Its previous life included time as a Private Member's Club, when it was an iconic base for the business and civic leaders of the city and as such was not accessible to the general public.
Social and demographic changes in the city resulted in the closure of the Club and
it became vacant in 2006 after being used as offices.
A £784,000 earmarked HLF grant will be used to transform this iconic building into a hospitality based complex and options.
The refurbished building will bring the potential to create approximately 45 new jobs and improve the tourism offer in the city centre.
© UTV News