PRIMARK IN Belfast has reopened this morning, four years after a devastating fire which caused damage to the historic Bank Buildings where it was previously located.
The fire took place in August 2018, with a complex restoration project having been undertaken at the 237-year-old building in the time since.
The restored store is now 88,200 sq ft in size, a 76% increased space from the original site, has five floors with 53 new fitting rooms and 58 new tills.
On the fifth floor is a new homeware department, with a Disney cafe, photo area and department also in the store, as well as a new nail and beauty studio.
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.
A fire service investigation into the cause of the blaze concluded that it had been accidental.
However, the Public Prosecution Service has decided to prosecute three companies for alleged health and safety offences following the fire.
It is understood the cause of the fire is not an element of the prosecutions.