When the London-based Neptune Group began to develop the site of the former Belvoir Park Cancer hospital at Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast, they came to us because of the quality of similar work we had done in this field – not just for beauty of the final product, but also for the level of understanding we have of local sensitivities and the political (with a small ‘p’) issues that can arise with such a high profile site.
Right from the outset on this project, one of the key challenges ahead was the various sensitivities surrounding the previous use of the site. How do you convince the top end of the market, for example, to pay substantial money to make their home on the site of a cancer hospital?
For the developer, the opportunity was to create a development around the Grade II listed buildings that sat at the heart of the site, which itself nestled in 64 acres of beautiful Lagan Valley countryside and private parkland.
The chosen approach was to sell the architectural heritage of the site (the same original firm of architects - Young and Mackenzie - were the leading firm at the birth of the city of Belfast), and set that within the context of the Edwardian era (exciting times in Britain).
This was combined with the opportunity to enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the private woodland on the doorstep, so that residents could bring their family up in something approaching a rural idyll. So we were essentially selling exclusivity and a country-living lifestyle right on the edge of the cities of Belfast and Lisburn.
As befits the quality of the project, the finished materials were completed to an exceptionally high standard. And the results were equally spectacular, with the First Phase being sold out within hours. To date, 34 houses have been sold equating to a current total sales value of almost £12,000,000.