One of the remaining buildings in the Kings Hall complex is to be reconfigured to store personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by the NHS to protect healthcare workers against coronavirus.
The 25,000 square feet Nugent Hall, which is adjacent to the main Kings Hallbuilding, has been made watertight and refitted with electricity to allow the safe storage of face masks, protective gowns and other PPE.
The building is being made available by Benmore Octopus which is in the process of developing the site. Work to prepare the building as an NHS storage facility has been carried out at cost or discounted rates by H&J Martin, CBRE, A&L Goodbody, AEM, G2 Environmental, Thornton Roofing, JP Corry and Ballymoney Scaffolding.
The Nugent Hall was previously used, along with the Kings Hall, to host the Balmoral Show and other trade events, and over the years was itself a standalone venue for a number of legendary concerts from bands such as The Prodigy, Ozzy Osbourne, Blondie and Aerosmith.
It has lain vacant since the site was vacated in 2013 by owners The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, which has since moved to the former Maze site.
Benmore Octopus has started construction on another part of the site of the KingsHall Health and Wellbeing Park which will be home to a range of healthcare providers, elderly and assisted living accommodation and as a base for a range of precision medicine companies.
H&J Martin are in the process of building Dataworks, a new precision medicine hub designed to attract data-focused medical companies to a secure and collaborative space. Local company Diaceutics, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has already signed up as an anchor tenant for 10,000 square feet of space and others are expected to follow suit.
David Burrows, Director at Benmore Octopus, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer a storage facility to the NHS for such vital equipment in the fight against coronavirus. Over the years the Kings Hall complex has played its part in times of national crisis, lending itself as an assembly point for aircraft and as a shelter for soliders during World War II.
“We, along with our partners from CBRE and H&J Martin, felt it was only right that we follow in that tradition by offering the Nugent Hall to the NHS so that we can play our part in this national effort.
Benmore Octopus, the company behind the development, is a joint venture between Benmore Group and Octopus Real Estate.
Benmore Group is an award-winning, Northern Ireland-based investment and development business specialising in urban regeneration projects across the property sectors.
Octopus Real Estate, part of the Octopus Group, is a leading UK specialist real estate lender and investor with £2.1 billion funds under management. The business provides debt and equity investments across a range of real estate sectors- from commercial to care homes, residential bridging to ground-up residential development, and retirement communities to mixed-use commercial projects. As part of this Octopus Real Estate also creates partnerships to deliver innovative healthcare facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the UK.