Family jeweller brings hope to Belfast following Primark blaze

Lunn’s Jewellers has announced plans to restore Belfast’s renowned Queen’s Arcade.

The family run business, which owns the arcade – the home to its flagship in the city – has applied for planning permission for a £2m refurbishment.

The Arcade was once described as the city’s most “fashionable promenade”, and now Lunn’s is looking to ensure it remains at the forefront of Belfast’s retail scene.

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The shopping area was designed and built in the 1880s by James McKinnon on behalf of client George Fisher.

In the 1930s the arcade was renovated to fit gentleman’s tailor Austin Reed, while shopfronts were redesigned by Frederick Sage & Co, whose other clients included Harrods and Selfridges.

The arcade is now home to Lunn’s flagship store, alongside other independent businesses.

Lunn’s chairman, Peter Lunn, told local press that the refurbishment of the arcade would bring hope to the city centre after the Primark blaze that hit headlines this summer.

Lunn told the Belfast Telegraph: “Queen’s Arcade has been a much-loved part of Belfast for almost 140 years and this £2m restoration will ensure that it remains a popular Belfast landmark for generations to come.

“While modern alterations have helped obscure what an architectural gem the arcade is, the proposed restoration will recapture its Victorian splendour and reputation as a home to specialist retailers.”

He continues: “The recent destruction of the Bank Buildings has been a horrendous experience for city centre retailers, but this city and its people are resilient and we have a vision for its future.

“We believe Queen’s Arcade has a big role to play in bringing people back into the city centre.”

The work is likely to overlap with the refurbishment of the historic Bank Buildings, which was ravaged by fire at the end of August, but Lunn’s expects to remain open during the refurbishment.

If the project gets planning permission, work is expected to take place outside trading hours between January and May next year.

“Our aim is to enhance what already exists and much of our inspiration has been drawn from photography dating back as far as 1885. Our ambition is to make sure Queen’s Arcade is synonymous with elegance, providing a beautiful space that restores its purpose as a home for luxurious but also accessible retail,” added Lunn.

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