The Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will boost the Northern Ireland economy by £47m annually and support 640 full time equivalent jobs, while also improving access to services for patients, according to an economic impact assessment of the proposed new development.
The primary care complex, residential care, independent living and hotel proposed for the site – which is recommended for approval to Belfast City Council Planning Committee on Tuesday – will also support a further 320 indirect jobs, research carried out on behalf of developers Benmore Octopus said.
It estimated that new residents in the proposed independent living units on the site would contribute £260,000 a year to the local economy while the uplift in visitor expenditure from overnight stays in the hotel will offer a £2.9m boost.
Meanwhile, the economy will receive a boost of £60m in gross value-added terms during the 10-year construction phase of the build, supporting 60 full-time equivalent construction jobs and a further 30 indirect construction jobs on a full-time equivalent basis.
Total investment in the refurbishment of the existing building and construction of new properties will reach £88.5m, the research has shown.
The proposed development will see the iconic Kings Hall building – which has lain vacant since 2013 – and surrounding site transformed into the most innovative health and wellbeing hub in the UK.
The redevelopment and refurbishment of the listed King’s Hall will also provide a significant heritage gain for South Belfast.
A GP hub is proposed for the Kings Hall where the co-location of up to 32 GPs and other trust-led primary care services can be accommodated in modern, fit-for-purpose accommodation.
Detailed analysis also found the Kings Hall would offer the most accessible location for the total patient population of Finaghy Health Centre and Dunluce Health Centre combined. A total of 76% of the combined patient population lives within 2.5 miles of the Kings Hall compared to 67% for Finaghy Health Centre and 63% at Dunluce Health Centre.
The extended Kings Hall site – formerly the Balmoral showgrounds – will also include care for the elderly and assisted living accommodation, a mixed-use medical facility, a 150-room hotel and a multi-storey car park.
David Burrows, a Director at Benmore Octopus, said: “The plans for the Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park set out a vision for the future of healthcare in Northern Ireland which will significantly improve access to GP and specialist services in new modern facilities. The site is designed to allow easy access for patients and co-location of specialist medical services and will alleviate the pressure on existing GP premises and grow the breadth and quality of services GPs can offer.
“Our plan to deliver GP services, combined with onsite diagnostics, caters perfectly for the requirement of innovative healthcare hubs of this nature across the UK. The proposals will also provide a modern environment where other medical service providers can co-locate and offer accommodation which allows the elderly to retain as much of their independence as possible in later life.
“We are delighted that our scheme will protect and enhance the iconic King’s Hall building and help rejuvenate health care provision in this part of the city. In addition, the latest research shows the Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will offer a significant boost to the economy, both in the surrounding area and further afield, by creating jobs and increasing expenditure in the locality.”
Benmore Octopus, the company behind the proposals is a joint venture between Benmore Group and Octopus Healthcare.
Benmore Group is an award-winning, Northern Ireland-based investment and development business specialising in urban regeneration projects across the property sectors.
Octopus Healthcare, part of the Octopus Group, is a leading UK healthcare property investor, developer and manager of healthcare properties. Octopus Healthcare invests in and develops properties as well as creating partnerships to deliver innovative healthcare facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the UK.