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Court in the act

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Hurd Rolland Partnership is claiming a first with its £30 million law court design in Northern Ireland. The 16-court complex, in the heart of Belfast,is the first pfi court project in the uk to reach financial close, says one of the partners, James Stevenson. The 14,000m2 block will have five split levels and include crown, county and magistrates' courts. There will also be offices and catering facilities opposite Waterfront Hall in the city centre. The building will have a glass front encased in brick and stone. Work started on the site of a former fire station in Oxford Street late last month, and the courts are due to open in October 2002.

The project is being driven by Consul Services (ni), a joint venture company including Jarvis, Karl Construction and Northern Builders. Jarvis Facilities Management will run it and provide security for 25 years. The development cost over this period will be £90 million. No firm plans have been made about the existing courthouse in Crumlin Road, which are listed Grade B+, but redevelopment has not been ruled out.

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