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Belfast City - a model of regeneration

Courtesy: Harcourt Developments

Our recent forum looking at how museums are anchoring regeneration around the UK proved extremely popular with our guests and on-line community. So much so that we thought we would feature another museum regeneration landmark development that is now drawing tourists and building Northern Ireland's economy.

Belfast City's 185 acre site called the Titanic Quarter is set around the Harland and Wolff shipyard where the famous liner and her sisters was built to take passengers to New York.

Investment has been ploughed into the area with a spend of £385 million. Residential, commercial, education and retail will serve 18,000 residents with a million tourists visiting every year.

The Titanic Belfast visitor experience costing £100 million was co-financed by the Northern Ireland Executive and Harcourt Developments - the latter entirely overseeing the design and construction process. The development was opened within the agreed timeline in March 2012.

Conal Harvey, Executive Vice Chairman at Harcourt Developments spoke to us about his experience of spearheading the project. Holding senior management positions in the Irish Development Agency and developing business parks throughout the Republic of Ireland, he said that the Titanic Quarter will remain a key driver for the Northern Ireland economy.

The museum's physical appearance references RMS Titanic with its four pointed hulls, shards of anodised aluminium and further details suggesting the spirit of the shipyards, water crystals and ice.

Civic Arts was the architect responsible for the original design, while a local firm Todd Architects worked alongside to deliver the completed building. 3D-modelling used in a process of 'virtual prototyping' was specifically developed by Todd for the project.

Six floors support nine interactive galleries with the sights, sounds and smells of those who sailed in the ship along with the tales of workers who created the ship.

A 1,000 seat banqueting suite, containing a replica of Titanic's iconic sweeping wooden staircase is also included in the design alongside education and community facilities.

Lonely Planet has named Belfast as one of the world's must see destinations. Hotels, restaurants and the city's Titanic heritage are all set against a backdrop of beautiful coast and mountains.

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