First look: Primark reopens Belfast Bank Buildings store after devastating fire

Primark in Belfast is set to reopen this week, and UTV has been invited inside for a sneak preview.

The store, at the historic Bank Buildings in city centre, was badly damaged in a fire in August 2018.

Over the past four years a "complex" restoration project has been undertaken at the 237-year-old building, and it's now ready to reopen to the public on Tuesday.

Here's what shoppers will find inside:

  • The new store is 88,200 sq ft in size, a 76% increased space from the original site

  • It has five floors, with 53 new fitting rooms and 58 new tills

  • A new homeware department on the fifth floor

  • A new 'Disney experience', including a cafe, Disney photo area and Disney department

  • A new nail and beauty studio for customers

The fire left the historic building's iconic feature facade badly damaged, and Primark says its ambition has been to restore it to its original form.

It says the same quarries in Finland, Scotland and Portugal where the original stone and marble were sourced were also used for the new facade.

Forty expert stonemasons from across the UK and Ireland worked on the restoration project, carving new stone and repairing existing stone.

A team of expert copper and lead craftspeople worked over a 12-month period to install mouldings and carvings on the roofs, walls and ledges to restore original details to the building.

The building also features an original ornamental window fitting, maintained throughout therestoration and is now displayed permanently as a symbolic memory of the original building.

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