Queen's University's innovative Pounds 29 million plan for a research and enterprise park at the historic former Belfast gasworks has collapsed, writes Noel Mcadam.
The hi-tech proposal had formed a major plank of the massive Laganside regeneration in Belfast. But the university is to look at alternative sites, preferably in the city.
It said a deal offered by the gas site owners, Belfast City Council, was unacceptable. Councillors acc- used Queen's of wanting the gasworks "on the cheap" but the university said that it is not a commercial organisation and had offered the council an equity share.
The crunch came at a meeting between Queen's with its commercial partner, Cusp, and councillors last week. Sean Fulton, chair of the project group, said: "We are disappointed. Research parks of this kind are highly influential in promoting job creation."