The BBC is to invest £77m into the redevelopment of its Broadcasting House building in Belfast.

The corporation says the money will create a “technologically advanced broadcast centre to serve future generations, while also retaining its long heritage in Broadcasting House on Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.”

The BBC aims to make the building more accessible with improved and new audience areas. Improvements will also be made to the television studio in BBC Blackstaff. The building will also be able accommodate all BBC NI’s Belfast-based staff and will establish a ‘technology centre of excellence’, allowing BBC NI to “take advantage of new and evolving technologies to stay ahead of audience demand in the digital age and to test new approaches for the whole BBC. It will also allow BBC NI to optimise its current leading edge technology – such as the new state-of-the-art, hybrid BBC Newsline studio and renovated BBC Radio Ulster studios.”

Peter Johnston, Director, BBC Northern Ireland, said: “Eighty years ago, in spring 1938, the original plans for the first Broadcasting House were revealed. It’s fitting, that today, we announce this new investment by the BBC which will maintain and enhance our rich heritage and history on this site in exciting new ways well into the future. Doing nothing was not an option. This is a big decision for the BBC and it’s about much more than just bricks and mortar. This major investment is a commitment to licence fee payers in Northern Ireland and will help us to become a more efficient and flexible broadcaster, better equipped to meet the needs of our diverse audience for years to come.”

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said: “This is another sign of our commitment to Northern Ireland. We’ve already made the biggest single investment the BBC has made in Northern Ireland in 20 years which is going to transform our digital output. Now we’re making sure we have a Broadcasting House fit for the digital age, giving audiences more access, ensuring we can give them the best possible programmes and making sure we operate as efficiently as possible.”

Jon Creamer

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