Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s plans for a multi-functional Theatre and Conference Centre in Newry have reached a significant new milestone.

The PQQ (Pre-Qualification Questionnaire) process is now underway for the provision of a contractor responsible for construction of the facility. The process, which identifies suitable suppliers, will conclude with invitations to tender for the scheme.

Currently, the planning application process is expected to conclude in the Autumn, and it is hoped construction will begin in early 2024.

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) supported project is part of plans to enhance cultural activity space in the heart of the City and attract more people into the centre who stay for longer and form part of a vibrant night-time economy. Supporting that vision is an attractive public realm performance space to the rear of the centre.

In January 2023 a BRCD Contract for Funding was agreed for Newry City Centre Regeneration Projects supported by the Deal, which includes the Theatre and Conference Centre. £5 million BRCD funding has been allocated for Public Realm at the Theatre and Conference Centre and Civic and Regional Hub, along with £3 million for a Grade A Office Accommodation Fund.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Valerie Harte welcomed the latest development.

“The PQQ process is an important marker for any major construction project, and I am pleased to see this project on track to delivering a vibrant new space for the arts and business sectors in Newry,” said Cllr Harte.

“Today we move another step closer to major investment in Newry and bringing this project to life. The new Theatre and Conference Centre will play an important role in revitalising our City Centre as we aim to capitalise on our position along the Dublin to Belfast Economic Corridor.”

Gerard Murray, Director of the Department for Communities Regional Development Office said, “The Department for Communities welcomes this latest development in the Theatre and Conference Centre project for Newry. The Department is aware of the many potential social and economic benefits for the area and will continue to work closely with the Council to support development and delivery of Newry City Centre Regeneration Projects supported by the Belfast Region City Deal.”