A new mall in the heart of Belfast is turning a once-dubious location into a new star attraction.
The Briarwoods Mall is home to the world’s first fully-fledged outdoor shopping centre.
It opened in the autumn of 2018.
“It’s a lot more of an urban mall.
It’s very much an extension of the old shopping centre,” said Liam Buckley, director of the Belfast City Council.
The new shopping centre is the brainchild of developer Liam Buckley and his wife, Sarah Buckley.
It’s the latest development in the long-running Belfast cityscape, and the first in a long line of projects to take the city centre.
“The Briars are the first of a series of developments in the area, with the aim of getting this new shopping precinct up and running as soon as possible,” said Buckley.
“And hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new chapter for the city of Belfast.”
The new Briar Woods Mall is located in the town of Westport in the south west of the city.
It was opened in 2018 and the city council estimates it could be fully operational by 2020.
“We have been working hard on this project since we started planning the city,” said Sarah Buckley, who is also the director of development for Briarlands Park Trust.
“When the mall opened, it was very difficult to get into, because of the proximity to the road, so there were a number of road closures and other things to worry about.”
But now we are getting the business right, we have been able to make a really good first impression and it’s just been a great success.
“Briarwoods is located on the site of the former Briar’s Inn, which was demolished in the 1950s and has been closed for almost 30 years.
It is now a retail complex and, like the old Briar Wood Mall, it is set to host a range of events and activities, including a film festival in the early 2020s.”
It has already attracted more than 1,000 people to the mall every day.”
There are so many different events happening here, it’s really going to change the city.”
It has already attracted more than 1,000 people to the mall every day.
The mall has become a major tourist attraction, attracting crowds of up to 40,000 visitors a day, but it is not without its problems.
The Mall has a total of 14 buildings and each has its own entrance.
The entrance to the Mall has been sealed off, so that pedestrians do not get in.
A sign at the entrance reads: “Due to security concerns, please stay clear of this area.”
In addition, there are no parking spaces for vehicles.
There are also no entrances to the shopping centre, which is situated just outside the city walls, and there is no public transport services.
“There is a lot of traffic, it can be really confusing,” said Sean Dickson, who works in the mall.
“You can’t really get around, so it’s hard to know where you are.”
“We’ve seen a lot in terms of parking issues,” he added.
“If you’re not going to park in the Mall, you’re definitely not going into the mall.”
Mr Buckley said that a few of the other developments that are planned for the area are due to be completed by 2020, and that the mall could be ready to open for business by the end of that year.
“These are all the projects we’re talking about, and we’re hoping to get these done in the first quarter of 2021,” he said.
“So I think it’s a really exciting development, but I think there are other opportunities for it in terms on other sites in the city, in other towns in the county, as well.”
Brigid O’Connor, who owns a pub on the same shopping centre as the Briars, said she hopes to have a new business opening soon.
“I think that there’s going to eventually be some sort of a shopping centre coming in,” she said.
“I think we’re really hoping that we can get some more shopping to happen in that area.”
The Briardwoods Mall will be available to the public from September 2020.