Belfast’s iconic Primark store to reopen in time for Christmas

Belfast’s iconic Primark store to reopen in time for Christmas

Belfast’s flagship city centre Primark store  is to reopen in time for Christmas, four years on from a devastating fire.

The retailer says the new five-floor renovated shop will reopen in the first week of November and will be 76% bigger than the old store.

As well as being bigger, the improved shop features a brand-new Disney cafe located on the second floor and a new nail and beauty studio.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “Without a doubt this reopening will be a much-needed boost for the city centre and its traders. This store was always a huge footfall driver for our members in Royal Avenue and the city centre as a whole.

“Whilst the city centre is experiencing serious challenges at present, its future has huge potential to be a fun, family friendly destination with a dynamic retail and hospitality offering.”

The listed Bank Buildings on Royal Avenue came close to being lost following the fire, which burned for three days after starting on August 28 2018.

In a June 2019 report, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) said a joint investigation with the Health & Safety Executive had found that the cause of the fire was “accidental”.

Primark says its complex restoration project has restored the building’s original structure, with 88,200 sq. ft. of brand-new retail space marking a significant increase.

The existing shop on Castle Street will merge with the restored Bank Buildings site to create the new larger store.

The retailer said as part of this process, the smaller Primark store on Donegall Place will close in the days before the Bank Buildings re-opening, with all employees transferring back to the new store.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Tina Black, said: “This is a major investment in Belfast city centre after a challenging time for our local economy.

“The devastating fire at Bank Buildings in 2018 was a turning point for our city. It acted as a springboard in bringing elected members and city partners together to examine and trial new ideas and concepts to support recovery and regeneration and increase what the city centre has to offer. Many of these projects have now been incorporated into our Future City Centre programme.

“This has been a long and complex restoration project, and local traders and shoppers have shown great patience and resilience. We hope the opening of Primark’s extended flagship store will provide a major boost to businesses, particularly in the run-up to the busy Christmas season.”

Paul Marchant, Primark CEO, said: “We want to thank the people of Belfast for their ongoing support and patience whilst we undertook the extensive re-building works at our iconic Bank Buildings site.

“We recognise how much the business community and wider city of Belfast has been affected by the devastating fire at our store back in 2018.

“We have put our heart and soul into retaining, conserving and restoring this much-loved historical building. We are nearly there with this re-development, and we cannot wait to finally re-open the doors and welcome our customers and our colleagues back into our Bank Buildings store.”