Laganside Corporation

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The Laganside Corporation was a non-departmental public body formed by the Laganside Development (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 with the goal of regenerating large sections of land in Belfast, Northern Ireland adjacent to the River Lagan. This development area was expanded in 1996 to include areas closer to the city centre.

The Lagan riverside suffered in particular from poor environmental conditions and the decline of the shipbuilding industry in the 1970s and 80s.

The corporation was wound up in March 2007 and dissolved in July 2007 when it will have reached its £1 billion investment mark. Its responsibilities will be transferred to the Department for Social Development.[1]


Regeneration of designated areas by:

  • bringing land and buildings into use
  • encouraging investment and development of commerce and both existing and new industry
  • creating an attractive environment
  • encouraging people to live and work in the area by providing sufficient homes, recreational and cultural facilities
  • contribute to the development of a positive international image of the city to encourage investment and tourism.


Lagan Weir, the catalyst for redevelopment of Laganside.
  • Lagan Weir – the weir, completed in 1994, is built across the Lagan between the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and the M3 bridge (completed around the same time). The Lagan Weir was jointly funded by the Corporation and the European Commission. The objective of the structure is to keep the level of the river artificially constant, as it is a tidal river the level of the water varied up to three metres between high and low tide. This exposed mudflats which were unsightly and emitted a strong odour, particularly in the summer months. The transformation of the riverside by the construction of the weir has been a catalyst for development along the riverside. Another part of the project is the "Lagan Lookout" centre which explains the history and function of the weir as well as the history of the Lagan itself.[2]
  • Lanyon Place – in many ways the flagship development of the Corporation. The Waterfront Hall is located on the site as well as Riverside Tower, (headquarters of BT Northern Ireland ) and the 5-star Hilton Hotel. The Lanyon Quay building was added recently. The development is named after architect Charles Lanyon.
  • The Odyssey development was Northern Ireland main "Millennium Project." A budget of £92 million was established; 49% funded by the Millennium Commission, 11% by the Laganside Corporation, 18.5% by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, 18.5% by the Sheridan Group and 3.3% by the Sports Council. Completed in 2001 facilities include:
    • Vue multiscreen cinema
    • IMAX Cinema (although now closed)
    • 10,000 seat indoor arena and home of the Belfast Giants ice-hockey team
    • W5 ("Who when why what where" exhibition)
    • Bars, clubs, restaurants and entertainment
  • Gasworks – this is a redevelopment of the city's former Gasworks by Belfast City Council and Laganside Corporation. The development has retained much of the buildings of the gasworks which was closed in 1988, including the "Klondyke Building" now home to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency which lines the Ormeau Road and its restored clock tower. The area between this and the Lagan has been cleared, and the site's massive gas holders (once the largest in the world) have been removed. The landmark tenant is the £45 million Halifax call centre building. Other tenants at the site include:
    • Radisson SAS Hotel
    • BBC Technology
    • Department for Social Development – Tenants of two buildings namely James House and its lesser cousin The Lighthouse Building
    • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland – Belfast LVLO – ironically, the site does not provide parking for customers wishing to tax their vehicles but this serves a not so hidden agenda for people to use the services of the agency remotely or by post as a staff cutting exercise in line with the Comprehensive Spending Review.
  • Clarendon Dock – the first site to be completed, this has become a major business park as well as the former home to the Corporation when it was in existence.
  • Mays Meadow – adjacent to Lanyon Place, has two major financial institutions, an Abbey call centre and the local headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
  • Donegall Quay and The Quays – Donegall Quay is a road linking Oxford Street to Corporation Square. The quay itself is located north of the Lagan Weir, between it and the M3 bridge. In February 2005 Laganside announced the Obel Tower. The tower will be Northern Ireland's tallest building.
  • Custom House Square – the Custom House Square, including the historic Custom House, is intended to improve the link between Laganside and the city centre.
  • Cathedral Quarter – the area around St. Anne's Cathedral is intended to be an important cultural centre.
  • The Sirocco Works – this area is a proposed residential and commercial development opposite Mays Meadow and Lanyon Place. The 16 acre (65,000 m²) site is one of the last large undeveloped areas in the Laganside area. The Sirocco Ropeworks was once the largest rope manufacturer in the world.[3] It later became Howden Sirocco, producing fans and heat exchangers. In 1999 the company was sold for £23 million, and production moved overseas.


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