Built in 1825, the property was designed for use as a public library and reading rooms, and housed the first telephone exchange and call box in the city (circa 1889). The building is currently listed grade B2 and was regenerated under the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).
Originally constructed with sandstone facades and a pitched natural slate roof, the building was badly damaged in the 1970s and 1980s and subsequently repaired with render finished facades and an artificial slate roof. Prior to refurbishment it was in an extremely poor state of repair with serious water ingress at parapet level. The stone façade at Castle Street had been over painted and all low level windows were shuttered.
Refurbishment and repair of external fabric and internal re-ordering included: removal of painted coatings to Castle Street façade, re-roofing and renewal of lead work, repair of windows, removal of external shutters and alteration of openings to Castle Street. Decorative grilles and railing were fitted, returning the vacant and derelict floor space to active.
The building comprises of a lower ground floor restaurant, ground floor office suite, three retail units and six apartments.
Project funded by:
Department for Social Development (UDG), Heritage Lottery Fund (THI), Northern Ireland Housing Executive (LOTS), DOE Planning Service (CAG)