Belfast City Council approves plans to develop a state-of-the-art aquarium in Titanic Quarter

Belfast City Council has approved plans to develop a state-of-the-art aquarium in Titanic Quarter, Belfast. The decision to approve the £12 million reefLIVE aquarium was made at last night’s (2nd September) planning committee meeting, allowing the company to set sail on the development of reefLIVE’s first aquarium.

The plans have been granted permission to build a new aquarium attraction to be located on the Queen’s Road opposite the Titanic Hotel, a short distance from Titanic Belfast.

Keith Thomas, Managing Director, reefLIVE Ltd commented:

“We are thrilled with Belfast City Council’s decision to approve our aquarium which has received a tremendous amount of public support since its original announcement last year. Our commitment to building our first reefLIVE aquarium in Belfast is testament to the City’s track record for tourism excellence and an unwavering confidence that sustained investment in Northern Ireland’s tourism and leisure sector will prove vital for the region’s recovery in a post-COVID world.”

It is anticipated that the reefLIVE Aquarium will be the largest marine-life visitor attraction on the island of Ireland and in bringing another international-standard attraction to the Titanic Quarter, will help to boost the length of each tourist visit to the city.

The reefLIVE aquarium will create 50 new jobs once operational, as well as construction jobs and apprenticeships. The Aquarium is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors each year when the attraction opens its doors in 2022.

The aquarium’s exterior has been designed by Ethos Architects, meanwhile the interior of the building has been devised by a world-leading aquarium design team led by Kay Elliott Architects and Theme 3 to create an aquarium for the 21st century.

Keith Thomas continued:

“The reefLIVE Aquarium Belfast will respond to huge public interest in the marine environment, the wonderful creatures that live there and the pressures on their habitats, communicating a strong and inspiring conservation message and showing how we can all make a positive difference. Combining stunning aquariums and a full range of cutting edge digital technologies, we’ll tell their stories and create a stunning and immersive visitor experience.”

All species within reefLIVE will be ethically sourced and aquarium displays and livestock will be maintained to the highest standards of animal welfare. reefLIVE will not display any Cetaceans or large pelagic shark species due to the team’s deeply held belief that the needs of these species cannot be met adequately in a captive environment.