ILEX chief Mel Higgins says a licensed restaurant, retail units, craft workshop, café and digital hub similar to the Gary Lightbody directed ‘Oh Yeah’ centre in Belfast are all in the pipeline for Ebrington.
But he still wants members of the public to tell the regeneration company what they want in the former Army and Naval site before a consultation ends on Friday.
He said: “This stage of the consultation closes on October 25th. Feedback so far has been extensive with over 1,000 people completing the Ebrington survey, and thanks to those who have taken the time to do so.
“Nevertheless, we are still keen to gather further feedback and ideas to ensure we have the views of everyone in the city and from all ages.
“This consultation will form the basis for further development at Ebrington. We have already refurbished buildings 80 and 81 as incubation units for the fledging creative industries in the city, and a Creative Hub will open in April 2014.
“The stable block will be converted to become a café and retail unit, while building 70 will become a craft workshop with a retail outlet. Both are scheduled to be leased early summer 2014.
“With these plans in mind, now is the time for people to give us their ideas for the rest of the 26 acre site.”
Work on a new Maritime Museum in Ebrington is scheduled to begin in 2015 with an opening date earmarked for 2017.
A genealogy centre and city archive is also being developed as a co-facility to the Maritime Museum. It is also pencilled in for a 2017 opening.
A second phase of consultation will commence in November, after which an outline planning application for the entire site will be submitted in January 2014.
Back in August the Sentinel reported how a new development framework for Ebrington was in train and that Ilex wanted to achieve outline planning permission for the whole site by the Summer of 2014.
Ilex’s “cultural broker” Caoimhín Corrigan said private interests had already expressed interest about turning the Ebrington Clock Tower into a hotel.
He told the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) Committee that the status of 14 of the 19 buildings on the site as listed, slowed things down somewhat. That and the topography of the site. However, he suggested progress would soon be made.
Planning approval for a bar and restaurant in the Cunningham Building has already been secured. Once the underground car park between Ebrington and King Street is completed nearby, that will be ready to go.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland recently announced a separate bid to see if private investors would be interested in operating The Venue after 2013.
If no one is interested it will likely be dismantled in January 2014.