Further funding agreed for Belfast Waterfront conference centre

An additional £18.5 million of funding has been approved for extension plans for Belfast's Waterfront conference and exhibition centre, bringing the total amount for the project to £29.5m.

Belfast City Council had already committed £11 million to the project as part of its £150 million investment programme and Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster announced at the end of January that she had approved funding of £18.5 million.

The project is expected to get under way by the summer, with a target to complete construction work by December 2015, with the extension fully operational by the following summer.

The extended building will stretch out to the edge of the River Lagan and provide an additional 4,000 square metres of conference, exhibition and banqueting space for an extra 750 delegates, including five new breakout rooms, each catering for up to 200 people. 

Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, said: "Belfast’s popularity as a destination for conferences and business events has increased markedly in recent years thanks to investment in this area and the commitment made by local stakeholders, partners and our dedicated business tourism team which works hard to drive business to the city."

The expansion is expected to generate an additional £39 million income for the city every year and create around 370 new jobs.

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