4th December, 2012

To coincide with the launch of Titanic Quarter’s new website I thought it was opportune to reflect upon our recent win at the national Regeneration and Renewal Awards (2012) where we were awarded the top prize in the ‘Mixed-Use Development’ category.

I’m particularly pleased that the judges commented on the “extraordinarily rich mix of uses” at the site. The judging panel chairman also noted that “the regeneration benefits…..appear to be enormous” and that “demand for high quality business space from national and international companies is high, stimulating the next phases of commercial development.

In a few short years Titanic Quarter has gone from a master plan to amazing buildings, resulting in thousands of people arriving on the ground, despite the impact of what is widely known as the "GFC" – global financial crisis.  Today over 4,000 people now live and work in Titanic Quarter, and 100 firms are based here. And one reason for that resilience is the truly mixed-use nature of the development.

As one part of the property market has slowed, other opportunities have appeared.  By creating a new shared space for Belfast, which encompasses a mix of residential, commercial, tourism, education and retail uses, we have a development that has momentum and a real sense of place.

That sense of place – the ingredient which marks out developments with a long-term future – has been given an enormous boost by the opening of the £100m Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.  Over 600,000 visitors have come since it opened at the end of March this year.  That footfall – from near and afar – provides a constant stream of life and energy, a critical mass which is helping support social and community interactions.  Those interactions are the tangible and indispensible element of place making.

With 185-acres and one mile of waterfront, the opportunities at Titanic Quarter are immense by any standard.  Major developments such as the expansion of Titanic Studios, on-going growth at the Northern Ireland Science Park, the anticipated development of a data centre and the hosting of major outdoor events such as a MTV concert and Proms in the Park demonstrate that Titanic Quarter now has real vitality.

Place making is largely an organic process that evolves over time, but it needs nurturing and cajoling.  We don’t have all the answers, but we’re here to learn from anyone and everyone.  Titanic Quarter is Belfast’s development, it's a place that welcomes young and old, short and tall, east and west, north and south – any corner of the globe is welcome to Titanic Quarter.  If you’ve any thoughts on what future you would like, please let us know.