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Belfast Waterfront Conference & Exhibition Centre

A £29.5M extension has increased the capacity of the former Waterfront Hall, helping to attract more conferences and exhibitions to Belfast.

Project Description

Belfast Waterfront Conference & Exhibition Centre (BWCEC) is the biggest single project in Belfast City Council’s £150M investment programme. The project is co funded by Belfast City Council, NI Tourist Board (now Tourism NI) and the European Regional Development Fund.

The extension to the Belfast Waterfront Hall will help to attract more and larger scale international conference and exhibition events to Belfast and act as a catalyst for further economic growth.

The BWCEC has been built on a confined site located partly over the existing service yard between the Waterfront Hall and Hilton Hotel, extending outward along the embankment facing the River Lagan.

The upgraded Belfast Waterfront Conference & Exhibition Centre now provides:

  • Overall 4,000m2 of net additional functional space to the Waterfront venue to supplement the existing entertainments and conference activities
  • 2550m2 of integrated exhibition and conference space located on one level and capable of being subdivided into smaller flexible spaces
  • Multiple break-out meeting space for up to 1,000 persons
  • Fully fitted CPU kitchen to cater for banqueting facilities for 750 persons
  • A dedicated riverside feature reception, plant and back-of-house zones and a purpose built link to Hilton Hotel

Key milestones in the project include:

  • Design Team appointed mid 2013 (OJEU)
  • Full funding secured March 2014
  • Enabling works (Service Diversion) commenced April 2014
  • Main Contractor appointed June 2014 (OJEU)
  • Planning permission received 24 September 2014
  • Commencement of works end September 2014
  • Construction completion March 2016
  • Opening of BWCEC May 2016

Project Status

The project was successfully completed on-time and on-budget in April 2016. The benefits of this project will ripple across the city, including more jobs in tourism and hospitality, more investment opportunities and a higher international profile. The effects are already being felt, with over 10 new or extended hotel projects in the pipeline, which could potentially create 40 jobs in the hospitality sector.

SIB Involvement

SIB has supported Belfast City Council to deliver this project with the provision Project Sponsor and Project Management services.

A SIB Strategic Adviser was appointed to the Project Sponsor role in mid-2012 – mid 2013.

A SIB Project Manager was seconded to Belfast City Council in November 2012 to manage the capital works project.