Belfast City Council planners are considering change of use proposals to convert a former Debenhams in the city’s CastleCourt retail centre into a new FEC and cinema destination.
If approved, the 80,438 sq ft leisure and entertainment space would offer crazy golf, laser quest, indoor caving, escape rooms, and a VR arcade, alongside the cinema and bar.
“Retail is no longer the driving factor bringing visitors into our city centres and high streets, and instead trends have shifted for younger generations to spend their money on experiences rather than goods,” states a proposal pack delivered to councillors.
“We aim to deliver a family entertainment and leisure space that seeks to go some way to regenerating this section of Royal Avenue and diversifying the current retail/food offering within CastleCourt.”
The unit, which has remained vacant since Debenhams ceased trading in May, will be divided to allow 48,222 sq ft for FEC space, 29,859 sq ft for cinema facilities, and the remaining 2,357 sq ft converted into a cafe.
Despite the council having completed a public consultation last month, precise details of which leisure and cinema brands would operate the facility are as yet unknown.