This is an exclusive first look at the proposed multi-million pound Ogle Street development in Armagh city centre.
As Armagh I first revealed earlier this month, the planning application for an ambitious housing scheme – which will cost in excess of £5 million – is now ready and will be lodged this coming Friday.
The project is hoped to be completed within two years of the first digger rolling in.
And locals will be given the opportunity to give their views, as well as a chance to get a detailed look at 3D plans, with a public consultation event in the Armagh City Hotel, between 6-8pm on Wednesday, February 27.
Ark Housing will be teaming up with the developer, Ogle Street Investments, in a joint enterprise, as part of huge plans to build 58 units in the currently large derelict wasteland.
The housing will be a mix of social and private, with the developer retaining 18 of the Ogle Street-side properties.
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s 2015-19 Housing Investment Plan states that there is a substantial need in the Armagh area, family this type of development, with small family category being in the highest housing stress.
As reported by Armagh I two weeks ago, the developer is currently undergoing preparatory work on the site with the former Bennett’s newsagents store, being transformed into a main office for the business.
The architect’s drawings show approximately 60 units – in a courtyard-style development – in what the owner describes as “city centre living”.
The city-based developer, explained that while many proposals had been explored in the past, it’s the original idea of city centre living which has won out as both the most viable and most suitable proposal.
The amended application will be for a mix of red brick and rendered houses, keeping with the Georgian flavour of Armagh’s streetscape – while also bringing Ogle Street back to how it once looked.
Should the project receive the green later this year, the construction work will initially create in the region of 50 jobs.
The 1.47 acre plot has been left undeveloped and overgrown since the illegal demolition of a row of 18th Century properties back in November 1997.
Speaking last month, the developer said he hopes the project will breath new life into Armagh, and into a city centre he says is begging out for increased footfall.
“We need to be thinking more about modern, vibrant, city-centre living,” he told Armagh I.
“Armagh is not a commercial hub; it’s not like Belfast or Newry. We conducted plenty of research and Ogle Street does not need more shops, there is no desire to make that a commercial hub.”
He added: “There are plenty of empty store fronts. We don’t need more shops, we need more people.
“And this will bring people back into the city centre, close to the local amenities.
“You don’t need a car to visit the supermarket, go for a coffee, or the theatre, it’s all on your doorstep.
“Whether it’s the young person looking a first home or older people, who may live more rurally, and looking to feel safer and less reliant on others, it’s the perfect opportunity.”