|HBO confirms GINI vision|
|Written by Groupe Intellex Global|
|Monday, 08 March 2010 13:18|
The confirmation that HBO will this year film nine episodes of TV series 'Game of Thrones' in the re-purposed Painthall within Titanic Quarter Belfast, is a hugely satisfying reward for 5 years of effort and promotion of visionary thinking.
Groupe Intellex first published its International Creative Media Campus concept paper in 2005. Back in 2005 the only available masterplan for what is now an extremely valuable facility was that it would eventually be demolished and replaced by residential and office properties. Back then we were asking the good burghers of Belfast to overdose on imagination to see the prospects for wealth creation and employment that this huge building could generate.
Our 2005 paper declared that "the development will create an internationally recognised production facility and media centre that will be technologically future-proofed and fully integrated into Europe’s most advanced commercial/community waterside development."
But, as with all new concepts, these things take time. It was our good fortune that we had already been working on strategies for four other streams of development in Titanic Quarter.
The early effort on projects such as these, where essentially we are 'writing business futures' and seeking to articulate proposals that reach well beyond convention, always represents an uphill struggle and are often seen as 'disruptive'.
We would not have it any other way - for Northern Ireland is truly a hot-bed of innovation, but one that is often stifled by the weight of custom and practice. Finding a way around the obstacles to creating new economic opportunities is an art form.
By 2007 we were sufficiently confident of success to broadcast the opportunity to the world - or at least to film-makers in California where Eoin Lambkin had a great reception amongst the media power brokers and animation specialists who were open to 'off the wall' ideas.
Now piece by piece other parts of the vision are falling into place.
The Titanic Quarter Open Network, after a 2-year delay for consultation, looks set to provide the area with world-class connectivity, rivalling Japan, Korea and Sweden and way beyond the UK's below-par position in broadband league tables.
The digital networking plan will not simply provide a showcase for fibre futures but also includes 'iBurst', the world's most advanced mobile data network that is currently showing how the delivery of essential public services can be transformed.
The five economic drivers identified in 2004 were Science, Education, Tourism, Creative Media and the Digital Network that binds them all together.
As a flagship for the Science sector, NISP is now well established and, in Education, the new Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) is already changing the skyline. And, for tourism, coming out of the ground at an impressive concrete-pouring speed are the foundations for the Signature building that will be ready in time for celebrations in 2012.
Now is the time to move our strategic thinking on beyond the struggle to create these components and to make them work together. The five ecomonic drivers are not simply a resource for Titanic Quarter.
These foundations can be shared and extended to bring new opportunities for growth across Northern Ireland.
The cruise ships viiting Belfast will disgorge thousands of tourists next year - not just for a local Titanic experience but to visit and enjoy many places.
The Signature project will accelerate the growth of cultural events. Adjacent to and working with the creative media campus we will see hundreds of specialists businesses like Greg Maguire's character animation studios coming home to NI after years in the Californian sun.
The combination of academia and innovation at the science park, the skills and trades of BMC, the growth of a tourist industry and the availability of first class hotels and residential accommodation, all add up to a new and vibrant economic hub that is stimulating all parts of society.
So thank you, HBO, for playing your part in showing the good people of Northern Ireland that epic fantasies can sometimes become reality !
Signature building graphic - Titanic Quarter Ltd, www.titanicquarter.com
For details of the Painthall film studio facility from NI Screen (PDF download) click here.
(C) GINI Ltd - Groupe Intellex Northern Ireland.