More details of what its promoters are calling Belfast's heart transplant" - the shops and office complex to be built on the seven acre Royal Avenue-Smithfield site - were revealed yesterday, but without the most important one.
The names of the national store groups negotiating for the prime sites, in the Castle Court developent as it is to be known, are still being kept a closely guarded secret although the man spearheading the project for the construction firm John Laing said yesterday he hoped to be able to reveal them within the next month.
Project manager Stuart Cunliffe said that demolition of the old General Post Office building, in Royal Avenue, would probably begin before the end of this month and it would take some six months for the whole site to be cleared and detailed planning to begin.
The main construction work is expected to start in November, 1986 and take about two-and-a-half years to complete
The total cost of the project including offices and car parking is now put at £40 million.
Preliminary designs for the complex were revealed yesterday and show that it will blend with the traditional pattern of the area.
As well as a two-level shopping centre consisting of a big department store, 50 shop units and a food court there will be three floors of offices which are to be taken over by the Department of the Environment; parking for 2,000 cars on three levels and a six-story building with shrubs and mature trees.
Mr Cunliffe said yesterday that talks were going on to try to provide cheap parking for customers of the main shops.
It was hoped to attract a mix of national and local traders to take space in the complex he said and already there had been many inquiries from firms in Belfast.
It was also hoped eventually to make it a centre for nightlife in the city centre.