Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ballyhackamore shops up for sale - people take to the streets of East Belfast

Ballyhackamore crossroads is identifiable by the huge cluster of estate agents. But for how much longer?

A chip shop, the bakery, Gary Hall’s newsagents, the fruit and veg shop along with Jason Shankey’s male grooming parlour (complete with webcam!) are all part of a block of seven shops that have been put on the market.

Five of the seven leases are up in 2007 making it an ideal time to sell.

Only one snag: the price has escalated beyond the initial asking price of £1.4 million, meaning that it may already be out of the reach of a commercial management company (certainly beyond the pockets of the current tenants) and is likely to fall into the hands of a property developer.

Not brilliant news for the tenants who may not be able to renew their leases, and the chippie that's just invested in a new counter.

And not good news for the local residents who may find fewer independent shops in the area, and be even more reliant on the Tesco Metro and M&S - or a longer walk across to the Belmont Road shops. (I posted about the Co-Op disappearing earlier this year.)

Oh, and the owner. No one has yet reported the exact makeup of the consortium. But retiring Archbishop of Armagh Robin Eames is heavily trailed as a part owner. While telling the basic property and human interest story, the BBC’s online reporting seems a lot more interested in Archbishop Eames’ ownership than it needs to be. Maybe it'll become a local Da Vinci Code-like Anglican plot!

(c) BBC

And it is reported that “protesters blocked the Newtownards Road” when “about 60 people” took to the street in East Belfast sometime this afternoon.

(c) 2006 Belfast Telegraph

I missed this brief excitement by being over in the busy-but-not-as-awful-as-I-expected Sprucefield Classic (the original M&S site) car park and associated shops in Lisburn. So I’ve linked across to the BBC and Belfast Telegraph pictures.


John Self said...

"the chippie that's just invested in a new counter"

And a wonderfully idiosyncratic piece of signage above the name - the leaping fish with the words Cod Almighty below it - and, most entertainingly for my money, the tiny words "Ohh yess" coming out of its mouth. And does the counter need to be seven feet high??

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Maybe the counter's tall to hide the George Foreman grill that "fried" my burger last time (the only time) I got a carry out there - about a year ago.

It felt like just one step up from it being popped into a toaster to grill.

Maybe it's changed/improved since then ...

Anonymous said...

I live,shop and work in Ballyhackamore and am saddened by the forthcoming sale of the shops. It should be noted that no one who has bid on the shops has visited the inside of one for an inspection. Does this prove they (the bidders ) only want the site? and what about the honest folk of Ballyhackamore who have no transport for shopping centres, where do they go ?

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...


A follow-up post explains that the sale has now been halted - with talks between the Eames' family and the current tennants/leasees in January.