As I type the Belfast City Council are debating the naming of the Tribeca Belfast Development.
As has been pointed out by others more educated and informed than me the name is NOT the biggest problem with this site, but it 100% does illustrate is the clearest possible terms what is badly wrong with Castlebrook and Stepladder and their plans.
I’m not quite sure if Godwin’s Law is invoked when referring to the case of a child who’s parents named him Adolf and went to prison for being Nazis but screw it I’m going for it anyway. Names are important. They didn’t go to prison for naming him Adolf. They went to prison because naming him Adolf brought them to the attention of the authorities. And guess what they’re Nazis. Is anyone surprised?
The name Tribeca was partnered with a promotional video which was largely filmed in late 2017 at the time when we had just had the whole TBC stickers nonsense (I notice they’re not drawing the connection between TBC and Tribeca with was obviously the initial intention). The film is littered with Street Art which has been used without the artists permission, a practice which as well as being illegal is indicative of what’s going on here. Photo’s of individuals were used without their permission, people at arts events in the Cathedral Quarter effectively were having their smiles stolen for commercial misinformation. This is how they roll.
In my previous blog at the time about this, some critiqued my issue with the developers being from London. Perhaps I should rephrase. It’s not where they’re from geographically but where they’re from ideologically that is the real problem. It’s their treatment of the most historic part of Belfast as an investment portfolio rather than a place where people have built lives and livelihoods that I take issue with. This attitude is in sharp contrast to other London based developers I have met recently who have spent time here, forged local partnerships on the ground and talked extensively and responsively to the residents of Belfast.
So yes the name Tribeca is a problem, but the question the Nolan show should be asking isn’t ‘What would YOU call it?’ The question is ‘How completely disinterested in Belfast are you if you think this, and the associated video, is OK?’. When the people of Belfast spoke in their thousands about the problems they had with your plans what was the response? A wanky black and white instagram account and a shit ton of stickers. And when the stickers didn’t work did you invest in changes that would benefit Belfast? No you invested in Jamie Dornan and a load of models. Did you even bother to ask ANYONE in Belfast what they thought of Tribeca?
On Nolan today there was talk from Councillors about changes to the plans and how it wasn’t retail led anymore. These changes are as far as I’m aware not in the public domain yet. It looks very much like these discussions are happening in the back corridors of City Hall and will be presented as a compromise and a fait accompli. But Belfast City Council, if you’re listening, don’t be fooled by the sultry tones of Dornan or the cobbled street shots with a Ludwig filter or the art they’re going to whitewash over - there are things that should be non-negotiable.
Restoration of the North Street Arcade
Small units for local businesses
Retention of our amazing build heritage.
Integration of the creative legacy of the area into the plans
Nothing over 10 stories
We must hold on to these principles, (and a few others I’ve probably forgotten) because we know who these guys are. They’re a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Because even if they change the name, and I’d be prepared to lay good money that they will, that’s not the problem.
If you call your child Adolf and then you get charged for membership of a Neo-nazi group you can’t just say ‘OK I’ll change his name to Gavin?’ The name isn’t the problem, it’s just a giant red flag about your underlying motives and attitudes.
P.S. Our good friend Conor Sheilds is tonight going to be the first person EVER to read a poem in a full council meeting. They’ve made him take all the poopy words out but if you want to see it in all it’s glory it’s worth a watch here.