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Five projects in Derry-Londonderry shortlisted for top RICS award

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RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has announced the shortlist for this year’s RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland, which includes some of the most loved local built environment projects.

A record thirty-six of Northern Ireland’s most innovative and community beneficial property projects have captured the hearts of RICS judges and will now go on to compete in eight categories at this year’s awards ceremony in May.

The eight categories for 2019 are; Building Conservation, Commercial, Community Benefit, Design through Innovation, Infrastructure, Regeneration, Residential and Tourism & Leisure.

In Derry-Londonderry, Ballinaskea Heights at Northland Road is one of six projects in Northern Ireland to be shortlisted in two categories, as it is considered for both the Regeneration and Residential awards. The Laurel Hill Gardens development in Coleraine is also shortlisted in the Residential Category. Lidl in Magherafelt is in the running for the Commercial award, while The Station Master’s House, Maghera and DAERA offices, Ballykelly are shortlisted in the Building Conservation and Design through Innovation categories, respectively.

Balliniskea Heights residential development was completed for Clanmil Housing Association at Northland Road, including sixty-two one and two bedroom apartments and sixteen two- and three-bedroom semidetached houses with an open space incorporating a children’s play area. The proposed layout has been designed to create a quality residential development to create a strong feeling of community.

Similarly, the exemplar Laurel Hill Gardens development located in the Heights area of Coleraine comprises of 58 new high quality social homes, incorporating 26 apartments and 32 houses. The development represents an investment of over £6 million (£3.3million provided by DFC funding and £2.7million through private borrowing) by Radius Housing in an area of high housing need.

The rapid-delivery project for Lidl, NI’s fastest growing supermarket chain, involved the demolition of an existing store and executing its replacement, designed to meet or exceed customer needs, enhance the overall shopping experience and provide perfect working conditions for employees. Since reopening in February 2018, the store has reported unprecedented increases in customer numbers and turnover.

The restoration of the Station Master’s House in Maghera involved the adaptation of a regionally significant Grade B1 listed building into new offices for Mallon McCormick Solicitors. McGurk Architects’ design involved the restoration of the building’s primary architectural features and the integration of the beautifully detailed platform and waiting area to provide a new functional modern office space that engages with building’s historical use.

Finally, the £12m innovative new headquarters for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs are shortlisted. Situated on a former army barracks on the eastern shore of Lough Foyle, this striking building delivers a real civic presence for the North West along with community engagement and local economic benefit.

All category winners go forth for the acclaimed Northern Ireland Project of the Year title, awarded to the scheme that demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area. Last year saw The Tropical Ravine at Botanic Gardens, Belfast, win the esteemed title for restoring the Victorian building to its former glory, with a modern 21st-century twist in order to transform the over-grown plot to a popular tourist attraction.

The awards highlight the great talent involved in shaping the Northern Ireland built environment for now and the future. This year’s shortlist projects from across Northern Ireland include The Blossom Children & Young People’s Centre, Craigavon, The Mourne Wall Restoration Project in County Down, Omagh Integrated Primary & Nursery School, the Galgorm Halodome, Ballymena and Enniskillen Castle Museum & Visitors Centre.

Chair of the RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland judging panel, Michael Hannaway said: “What’s great about the RICS Awards is that they celebrate and recognise the community impact that these shortlisted property projects are having on their local communities, as well as the talent and collaboration of the teams behind them.

“Some of these shortlisted projects have helped to attract more visitors and inward investment, whilst others have provided much needed housing or vital services and infrastructure to their communities. The teams behind them should be extremely proud as many were delivered on time and within budget, and with sustainability at the heart, to ensure they are as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.”

All Northern Ireland winners go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final in November 2019, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

The RICS Awards 2019, Northern Ireland, will be held on Thursday 30th May at Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast. Tickets for the ceremony and black tie dinner can be booked online at www.rics.org/niawards.

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