Work has begun to develop the Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park in south Belfast in a move which will transform the provision of integrated healthcare in Northern Ireland.
Construction will be carried out by H&J Martin and will see the iconic Kings Hall building – which has lain vacant since 2013 – and the surrounding site transformed into the most innovative health and wellbeing hub in the UK.
The first phase of the development will see the construction of Dataworks, a new precision medicine hub designed to attract data-focused medical companies to a secure and collaborative space. Local company Diaceutics, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has already signed up as an anchor tenant for 10,000 square feet of space and others are expected to follow suit.
The extended site – formerly the Balmoral showgrounds – will also include care for the elderly and assisted living accommodation, a mixed-use medical facility and a multi-storey car park.
Negotiations are ongoing with a range of healthcare providers interested in letting space within the park.
Once completed, the project will boost the Northern Ireland economy by £47m annually and support 640 full time equivalent jobs, according to an economic impact assessment of the development. It will also support a further 320 jobs indirectly.
Meanwhile, the economy will receive a boost of £60m in gross value-added terms during the 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.
David Burrows, a Director at Benmore Octopus, the development company behind the project, said: “The start of construction at the Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park marks a milestone on our journey to create one of the most innovative healthcare hubs in the UK and Ireland. We are particularly delighted to be protecting and enhancing the iconic Kings Hall building, one which will sit at the centre of our plans for the park as a proud asset for the city.”
Ashley Heath, Healthcare Property Director at Octopus Real Estate, said: “The Kings Hall Health and Wellbeing Park will mark a step change in the delivery of healthcare, not just in Northern Ireland but right across the UK and Ireland. We are hugely excited to have started the construction phase of the project and look forward to breathing new life into an iconic Belfast site.”
Benmore Octopus, the company behind the development, is a joint venture between Benmore Group and Octopus Real Estate.
Benmore Group is an award-winning, Northern Ireland-based investment and development business specialising in urban regeneration projects across the property sectors.
Octopus Real Estate, part of the Octopus Group, is a leading UK specialist real estate lender and investor with £2.1 billion funds under management. The business provides debt and equity investments across a range of real estate sectors- from commercial to care homes, residential bridging to ground-up residential development, and retirement communities to mixed-use commercial projects. As part of this Octopus Real Estate also creates partnerships to deliver innovative healthcare facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the UK.