Northern Ireland

Belfast Victorian baths become hi-tech co-working space

Artist's impression of new offices Image copyright Terry Design
Image caption Work on refitting the building will begin this month

The Ormeau Baths building in Belfast is to become a co-working space for freelancers and small businesses.

The bulk of the listed Victorian building was last used as an art gallery, but that closed in 2011.

A group of technology investors are to convert the site into a space with 140 desks and private offices.

Co-working spaces are common in many cities with companies like WeWork providing serviced desks on a month-to-month basis.

Image copyright bbc
Image caption The last swimmer packed their trunks in the 1970s

The Ormeau Baths project is being developed by local entrepreneurs Jon Bradford, Mark Dowds, Steve Pette and Aaron Taylor.

Mr Pette said: "We're proud that the new Ormeau Baths will contribute to the physical regeneration to the city as well as the further evolution of the burgeoning tech sector here.

"We are going to have space for people who need a desk in Belfast for a few hours a month, people who need permanent desk space and also several multi-person offices.

Image copyright Terry Design
Image caption Those using the new site will also get access to mentorship and time with experts

"We expect all of those who use it to have a similar mind set towards growth and collaboration."

Mr Pette added that as well as a workspace, the site would provide people with access to mentorship, time with experts and assistance with funding and business development opportunities.

Image copyright Terry Design
Image caption Work on the co-working space is expected to finish in May

The building first opened as a public bathhouse in 1888; it closed in the 1970s before being reopened as a gallery in 1994.

Work on the building will get underway this month with an expectation of opening in May.

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