Belfast’s skyline underwent a dramatic change today, 21st November, with the implosion of the 17-storey Churchill House office block in Victoria Square. Special guests who witnessed the historic implosion included Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tom Ekin and a number of dignitaries associated with the project and AM Development’s work in Belfast.
The controlled demolition of the 1960’s building is a key milestone in the ongoing construction works of the £300m Victoria Square inner city regeneration project by Dutch developers AM Development.
Symbol for new beginning in Belfast
Paul Sargent, Managing Director, AM Developments (UK), said: “We are delighted to have safely demolished this 1960’s building which signifies the final stage in our demolition work on the Victoria Square site. We are now looking forward to moving full steam ahead with the construction of a basement car park for 1000 vehicles. Today’s implosion symbolises a new beginning in Belfast. Victoria Square will be a flagship project, which will promote a new image of Belfast as a thriving, high-quality retailing centre. That image is vital in the fierce competition between European capitals to attract tourism, conferences, cruise liners and inward investors.
“Victoria Square will see an amazing inner city regeneration project, including 500,000 sq ft of high quality retail, leisure, a new House of Fraser Department store, residential and parking which is due to open in Spring 2007. Above all Victoria Square gives Belfast a new skyline and landmark: a 45 metre high glass dome, making the magic visible for everyone and allowing the public to enjoy breathtaking 360 degree views across the city.”
AM Development have been working closely with Yorkshire based demolition specialists, Controlled Demolition, to ensure the smooth running of today’s project. Work has been carried out in earnest for a number of months to prepare the site and the building for its implosion.
A total of approximately 100kgs of explosives were responsible for bringing the building dramatically down within seconds. Jon Munce, Technical Project Manager, AM Development, said: “This is the first time there has been controlled use of explosives in Northern Ireland. We followed strict regulations when preparing for this historic day with the surrounding city centre area closed off to the public for a number of hours this morning.
“All of our movements have been under the close supervision of the PSNI and the Health and Safety Executive. Due to its close proximity to Ann Street, a 16-metre strip of the building was moved away using traditional methods over a number of weeks, before this morning’s implosion. We have also been in liaisons with all of the businesses in the area to keep them informed of our activities. Disruption was limited by carrying out the demolition on a Sunday morning and only needing to close the roads until midday, allowing Sunday shoppers to get back into the city centre for 1pm.”
Charity will benefit from Victoria Square
To celebrate this beginning in the renaissance of Belfast, AM Development together with German property fund CGI (Commerz Grundbesitz Investment Gesellschaft GmBH) have made a significant donation to local charity, Belfast Activity Centre. The donation will benefit 40 young individuals through a dedicated programme over the next two years. The charity, which provides personal development opportunities for young people from all backgrounds, will receive £1000 per floor of the 17-storey building following the blowdown of Churchill House.
Source: AM Development