Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has granted planning permission for the regeneration of the massive Ebrington site.
The proposal sets out a blueprint for the 10.5 hectare site and provides for 83,000 square metres of gross floor space.
Plans can now be advanced for a range of uses including museum and heritage, creative industries, education, research and development, hotel and leisure, office, residential, cafes, restaurants and associated parking.
Development is likely to occur in phases with completion expected around 2033.
The decision by Mr Durkan was turned around in less than a year, despite being one of the largest applications ever lodged in the north.
Announcing his approval last night, Mark H Durkan said: “This is good news for the City and for the North. I believe in, and am committed to, the development of Ebrington as a key site for the economic regeneration of Derry. I demonstrated that commitment by establishing the DOE Regional Headquarters with some 30 jobs and the first ever Ministerial Office in Derry on the Ebrington site.
I believe in, and am committed to, the development of Ebrington as a key site for the economic regeneration of Derry.Environment Minister Mark H Durkan
“Since then we have been joined by others including two restaurants and many small businesses in a creative industries hub and I commend ILEX for their vision and hard work to get to this stage.”
Mr Durkan added: “Ebrington is the single largest regeneration site in Derry. This application sets out a blueprint that will be a boost for business, tourism and people in the area by revitalising the 1840s site with new homes, offices, cafes, restaurants and museum and arts facilities.
“It will also bring many construction jobs in the short term as well as long term job creation.
“Approval of this development framework provides certainty on the scale and type of development that will be acceptable. It will provide a masterplan for the physical regeneration and investment priorities for this pivotal site which is connected to the city centre by the iconic Peace Bridge. I look forward to further detailed proposals which will deliver on the vision of the framework.”
The Minister added: “The proposal supports the aims and objectives of the One Plan and several key programme activities including the Ebrington Creative Hub to stimulate start-up businesses and the Ebrington Cultural Quarter of arts and cultural development.
“This proposal will help build a better environment and a stronger economy through sustainable development of previously developed urban land. It will enhance and develop a space close to the city centre and its built heritage, while developing the site in to an area that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone.”
The framework provides for 83,000 square metres of gross floor space with approximately 7,200 square metres for Museum and Heritage, 11,500 square metres for Hotel and leisure, approx 19,000 for commercial office space, 21,000 for creative industries/education, 98 live/work units and other ancillary uses including cafes, restaurants and parking.
A former military barracks dating back to 1840s, the site has significant historic importance containing a number of listed buildings and a star fort which is the finest example of such a defensible barracks in Northern Ireland.
Since its transfer to the Northern Ireland Executive, regeneration works at Ebrington has included: development of Cunningham Square and Ebrington Square, the latter being one of the largest public event spaces on the island of Ireland; the construction of the award winning Peace Bridge and the refurbishment and creation of a number of buildings and spaces which played host to the 2013 City of Culture celebrations.
The planning application was lodged by Ilex Urban Regeneration Company Limited (Ilex URC).