New £3 million centre to make Balmoral Ireland’s largest exhibition space
Visitors to this year’s Winter Fair might notice the massive £3 million (€3.4 million) structure in construction right beside the Eikon centre.
Once completed, the new 6,000m² building will make the Balmoral Park the largest covered exhibition space on the island of Ireland.
The frame of the permanent structure – which spans 50m – is made from steel and will be finished in aluminum sheeting, similar to the Eikon centre.
The events sector is an important stream of revenue for the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS), making up almost all of the organisation’s income.
In recent years, rival venues – including the Waterfront Hall, the Odyssey and Titanic Belfast – have taken a large chunk out of this market.
RUAS chief executive Colin McDonald said: “It will be ready for Balmoral 2018 and by then the site will have the biggest exhibition space in Ireland. That will attract business from the UK and Europe that, until now, couldn’t come to Ireland because there wasn’t a space big enough.”
The Eikon Exhibition Centre also cost around £3 million (€3.4 million) to build at Balmoral Park.
The site itself also cost a further £3 million to buy, meaning a total investment of around £9 million (€7.9 million) in Balmoral Park.
The investment has all been paid for by RUAS funds, without government support or loans, using the capital freed from the King’s Hall showgrounds.