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Second Andersonstown Barracks contest to launch next month

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A second contest to redevelop West Belfast’s Andersonstown Police Barracks is set to launch – three years after plans for a £12 million landmark project were derailed

Northern Ireland’s Department for Social Development (DSD) announced a fresh competition to seek a development vision for the long demolished fortress – once a symbol of The Troubles – will open in October.

Plans for a ‘state-of-the-art’ Expo Centre hit the buffers in May 2011 after local outfit Todd Architects launched a legal challenge over the shortlisting process.

The RIBA contest, judged by Maze Peace Centre architect Daniel Libeskind, was placed on hold and then abandoned seven months later leaving the six strong shortlist – including Hawkins\Brown, Carmody Groarke and Grafton Architects – in limbo.

Original sortlist in full:

  • Grafton Architects and BDSP Partnership with Adams Kara Taylor
  • Hawkins\Brown with North Seven
  • Kennedy FitzGerald & Associates with Carmody Groarke
  • Niels Torp with WDR & RT Taggart
  • URS Scott Wilson with Hackett Hall McKnight.

A DSD spokesperson said: ‘Following a period of refreshed community consultation it has been decided to run a development brief competition for the Former Andersonstown PSNI Site with the aim to select a high quality development with a provision for green or open space which will contribute to the social, community and economic renewal of the area.’

The latest competition will focus on development ideas rather architectural proposals although architects are free to submit entries.

Housing has already been ruled out but DSD confirmed it will accept any proposal which is consistent with its regional development strategy.

The expo centre was originally planned to showcase the district’s regeneration, setting a ‘new standard’ in terms of innovation and design.

The Andersontown police barracks previously occupied the triangle-shaped site at the junction of Falls Road and Glen Road but was demolished in 2005.

The fortress featured a watchtower and barbed wire fences. An IRA car bomb exploded in May 1983 at the station.

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