That said, in recent years things have been looking up with the influx of new small businesses moving back into the area, which is now home to a diverse range of independent companies. However, more work needs to be done to encourage locals and tourists alike into the area to uncover just how amazing this up-coming part of the city really is.
Our shop is situated in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter, just a three-minute walk from the Art College, on Lower North Street. Back in the day our unit was a huge department store called B. Hyam & Co. who were best known for their top hats, one of which is in the Victoria & Albert museum in London. In it’s hay-day North Street was one of the busiest shopping areas in town, bustling with pedestrians visiting the Alhambra cinema and Woolworths, which was located at the corner of Royal Avenue.
We want to bring the Cathedral Quarter back as one of the most exciting parts of the city to eat your lunch, window shop and meet up with friends. With the success of annual events like the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Culture Night, and Hit The North, we believe that we can achieve this all year round. Enter the ‘Destination CQ BID’.
The Cathedral Quarter already boasts
• Festivals and events which attract over 400,000 people annually,
• The Cathedral, The MAC, and the Central Library, which attract over 550,000 visitors annually,
• Ulster University Belfast, growing to 15,000 students by 2018,
• The 600+ stakeholders within the proposed BID area currently employing around 4000 people – a number that will likely increase significantly as new developments are completed,
• 4000-5000 people on an average weekend evening enjoying a night out in the area’s restaurants, pubs, and clubs,
• Hotels offering 357 rooms with 55 more planned for 2016. Hundreds attend weddings, conferences, and other gatherings.
The CQ BID initiative will build upon this by recruiting the local businesses to join forces and donate a set amount of cash per year, based upon their rates payments, which will go towards making the Cathedral Quarter a better place to work, study, visit, and do business. There have been over 200 other BIDs throughout the UK, so the model is tried-and-tested.
The objectives include
• Supporting and enhancing cultural activities,
• Improving the trading environment by enhancing the public realm and creating a welcoming atmosphere for clients, staff, visitors, audiences, and students,
• Promoting local businesses and events,
• Retaining talent by creating opportunities for graduates and entrepreneurs,
• Working in partnership to drive down costs and shape the future of our area,
• Growing our evening economy further and developing out daytime offering to increase visitor footfall, dwell-time and spend.
This is a brilliant opportunity for us to have our say and to have the ability to make the changes we want. Spread the word people, tell your friends, your granny, and your dog. Big things are afoot and we can’t wait to share them with you! X
If you want to read more, head over to http://www.destinationcq.com/bid
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