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Complex seen from Clarendon Dock (c.2008)
|Former names||Landmark Millennium Project (planning/construction)|
Odyssey Centre (2000–13)
|Address||2 Queen's Quay|
Belfast BT3 9QQ
|Opened||2 December 2000|
|Inaugurated||29 November 2001|
|Renovation cost||£3 million|
|Client||Belfast Giants (EIHL)|
|Owner||Odyssey Trust Company Ltd.|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Consarc Design Group|
|Developer||Delap & Waller, Tavakoli Associates|
|Services engineer||RPS Group|
|Other designers||Teather Walls Architects|
|Main contractor||Farrans Construction, Gilbert-Ash|
|Architect||HJ Lyons Architects|
|Structural engineer||Turley & Associates|
|Services engineer||RPS Group|
|Seating capacity||10,800 (SSE Arena)|
The complex originated in 1992 and came into fruition in June 1998. It opened in December 2000, with expansions opening in March and May 2001. The complex consists of: a multipurpose arena, science centre and shopping centre. The shopping centre houses a movie theatre and bowling alley, alongside a selection of restaurants.
The Odyssey Centre was 50% funded by a £45m grant from the Millennium Commission as part of the Landmark Project for Northern Ireland with matched funding from the Department of Education Northern Ireland, the Sheridan Group and the Sports Council for Northern Ireland. The application to the Millennium Commission was led by the Ulster Museum, who wished to develop a science centre and teamed up with Peter Curistan who wished to develop an IMAX, and then led the development of the Arena with L&R leisure who were the consultants. The name "Odyssey", was to symbolise the 'journey of discovery' that would be the science centre and Michael Montgomery, a young 14 year old at the time came up with the name. The complex adopted the name, and the Science Centre became W5.
The arena opened in 2000, W5 on 31 March 2001 with the Pavilion opening a few months later. The Odyssey is quoted to have cost £120 million on completion. Odyssey was held in Trust by the Odyssey Trust Company with leases to SMG/Sheridan for the Arena, Sheridan for the Pavilion and the National Museums NI for W5. In 2011 Odyssey Trust took over the Arena. In 2011 The Odyssey Pavilion which was owned by The Sheridan Group went into administration, and the building went under control of KPMG temporarily until the energy company SSE purchased it. It is managed by The Odyssey Trust.
SSE Arena, Belfast
Formerly the Odyssey Arena from 2000 to 2015. Northern Ireland's biggest indoor arena, with a capacity of 10,000+ for concerts, hosts concerts and sporting events such as Belfast Giants games. On 25 June 2015, it was announced the Arena would undergo a £3 million refurbishment and become the SSE Arena on September 4, 2015. The naming rights will last for 10 years.
World champion boxer Carl Frampton has fought at the Odyssey several times. The venue has also hosted a number of World Wrestling Entertainment live events including RAW and SmackDown!. WWE visits the Odyssey at least once a year. It hosted UFC 72: Victory on 16 June 2007.
Since 2008, it has played host to the Premier League Darts.
The Odyssey Pavilion houses multiple shops and entertainment venues. Notable examples include The Odyssey Bowl (bowling alley), Odyssey Cinema and The Box
A Sheridan IMAX operated in the complex from 2000 until 2007, with its former location remaining vacant since.
W5 stands for "Who, What, Where, When, Why"....all the questions asked in science. W5 was developed by Dr Sally Montgomery, the Ulster Museum's Project Director (and then founding CEO) with the exhibitions being designed by Hands On Inc, Florida USA and Ontario Science Centre, Canada. W5 has roughly 250 interactive exhibits, along with 6 themed exhibitions, in 3500 sq metres of exhibition space, workshop space and lecture theatre.
W5 was a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Museums Northern Ireland until 31 March 2012 when it became a subsidiary of Odyssey Trust. W5 has won a huge number of awards including Best Visitor Attraction, several times. In 2013, W5 opened 'Climbit' (pronounced "climb it"), the biggest Luckey Climber in Europe where small children can climb up twelve metres in total safety.
In October 2009, The Odyssey Trust sought planning permission for a £100m extension plan. The plans include 800 residential units, two hotels, a promenade, shops, additional leisure facilities and a multi-storey car park.
On 29 November 2013, the owners of the Odyssey won planning permission for an extension to include hotels, shops and apartments creating around 1,000 new jobs. Work is due to start immediately, with around 800 people set to work on construction of the scheme – described as the biggest redevelopment in Belfast in years. Odyssey Trust's plan is to build next to the existing Odyssey Arena and Pavilion as part of the restart of the Belfast master plan.
In October 2017, it was announced that Planning Permission had been submitted to transform the Complex in a £10m refurbishment. Plans include a new entrance to the Odyssey Pavilion, upgrade of Public Realm and reconfiguration of existing retail units. Phase two will see improved visitor access and greater use of the central open space.
The Odyssey was short-listed for 'International Large Venue of the Year' (Outside of North America) in the 2005 Pollstar Concert Industry Awards, making it one of the top six major concert venues in the world.
The SSE Arena is located in the Titanic Quarter, just a 10/25minute walk from the City Centre. Translink NI Metro service 26, 26A, 26B, 26C, 600A and 600B stop directly outside the Arena and depart from Donegall Square North, just outside the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre. The new Glider transit system includes a route, G2, from the Centre of Belfast, with a stop right outside the Odyssey.
- "The SSE Arena, Belfast home of the Belfast Giants". Theodyssey.co.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Cromie, Claire (25 June 2015). "Belfast's Odyssey to be renamed the SSE Arena in naming rights agreement". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- "Explore W5｜Over 250 Interactive Exhibits｜W5 Belfast". W5. W5. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 9 July 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "ClimbIt｜Multi-Storey Climbing Structure｜W5 Belfast". W5. W5. 6 July 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "UK | Northern Ireland | £100m Odyssey site revamp planned". BBC News. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
-  Archived 20 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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