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Clanmil Celebrates Five Thousand Homes with Restoration of Former Blood Transfusion Building

Clanmil Housing is celebrating its 5,000th home after successfully transforming a 101 year old listed building on Durham Street into apartments, bringing life back to the much loved but abandoned space.

The restoration was part of a £3.3million housing scheme providing a total of 23 homes.  The development, which was part funded by the Department for Communities, has given the previously derelict listed building a future.

In order to preserve the building’s original features whilst creating modern comfortable homes, contractors Geda Construction reinstated the sash windows with secondary glazing, restored the brick and sandstone detailing, repointed the original lime and improved the insulation.

The building was also extended sympathetically, to bring the total number of apartments to 12, with a glass atrium linking the old and the new. The development also includes 10 new family houses and a bungalow.

Originally designed by Young & Mackenzie Architects, famous for other iconic Belfast City Centre buildings such as Scottish Provident Building, and the old Robinson & Cleaver department store, the building is well known as the former home of the Blood Transfusion Service. It originally housed the NI Tuberculosis Authority from 1918 to 1960.

Clanmil Group Chief Executive Clare McCarty said: “Reaching the 5,000 homes milestone is testimony to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic team and the valuable input of our partners.

“We are proud to provide modern, comfortable, safe and affordable homes for almost 10,000 people across Northern Ireland.  We work really hard to make sure people love living in the homes we provide and that they are in vibrant and supportive communities where families can put down roots and thrive.

“For this project we have worked closely with local political representatives and St Mary’s Community Group to ensure we built the right housing mix to meet the need in the area. We’ve also benefitted from the expertise of Harry Rolston Architect, Turley Planning, and Geda Construction, who helped ensure this architecturally-significant listed building was brought back to life.”

The restoration was carried out in consultation with St Mary’s Community Group and the local community, many of whom have memories of the old building and are happy to see it restored to its former glory and brought back into use for the community as much needed homes.

Jean McMahon of St Mary’s Community Group said: “We are greatly encouraged that our community’s fantastic old building is providing new accommodation for a wide range of ages and residents. There is a need for family and older peoples’ housing in the area, so it is fantastic to see both provided for in this scheme.

“We want to congratulate Clanmil for having the vision to restore this fantastic building, providing much needed housing in the area. We’ve already extended a warm welcome to our new neighbours and look forward to getting to know them better.”

Clanmil Housing was first registered as a housing association in March 1977. Its first scheme was The Old Mill independent living for older people in Larne, which comprises of 13 apartments and 12 bungalows.  In 2011, Clanmil merged with Dungannon and District Housing Association and with housing conservation specialist Hearth in 2017.

Flagship Clanmil schemes include 174 homes at Lavinia Square in Belfast, 163 homes at Caffrey Hill in West Belfast, and 97 homes at Feldon in Newtonabbey and Clanmil plans to complete a further 400 homes by the end of March 2020.