A 19th century warehouse located in Belfast has been bought by Welsh firm Watkin Jones and Hollywood's Lacuna Developments as a joint venture, as they plan to develop it into student accommodation. The Athletic Stores building that sits in the city centre on Queen Street, had been threatened with demolition back in 2009; however, heritage campaigners protested and fought to prevent this from happening. Originally named Swanston's Linen Warehouse, the building is not listed but does sit in a conservation area.
The two companies have already set in motion the conversion of Belfast Metropolitan College building at College Square East. Their development is an investment of approximately £15m and is set to provide a total of 300 new student beds. While detailed plans have not yet been drawn up in regards to the Victorian warehouse, it has been said that the new development will not involve demolition of the buildings.
With much investment into student property, reports show that there will be almost 4,000 new student beds build in Belfast over the next few years.