Titanic signature project

Titanic signature project

Postby Tom McCluskie on Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:45 am

Titanic Quarter Ltd has today announced the government backing for the construction of a Titanic signature project. This will take the form of a four sided building, each side representing the bow of Titanic and housing a theme park, virtual cinema ride (whatever the hell that is!) together with various other "attractions" all themed on Titanic. The projected tourist visitors is a minimum of 400,000 per year and is to be completed by 2012. The government subsidy is some £43 million with the rest being raised by a consortium comprising the developer, Titanic Quarter Ltd/Harcourt Developments/Ivy Wood properties and the Belfast City Council and Harbour Commissioners who will together contribute the balance of £47 million.

Not to sound too negative a note, the agreement is based on the following assumptions: IF the current apparement and condo development will be completed and sold, IF the marina development is completed, IF the tourist revenue can be guaranteed, IF the further development of the surrounding site is guaranteed and finally IF the required finance can be raised. Given the current credit crunch both here and in the US fulfilling the latter conditions could be at the very least interesting :D
Last edited by Tom McCluskie on Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:53 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Tom McCluskie on Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:43 pm

Further to my previous post, in an opinion poll conducted by Ulster Television across Northern Ireland 65% of those asked considered the Titanic Signature Project a disgraceful waste of money and in all probability turn into a white elephant. The consensus of opinion was that this vast amount would be better spent on new hospitals and housing. Only 28% of those polled considered it a good idea the remainder had no opinion or couldn't care less. :lol:

Incidentially the projeted annual tourist figures to make the project viable has now risen to 800,000 per annum............Oh well better to live in hope than to die in despair I suppose. :oops:

Somehow I don't think the likes of Branson have anything to worry about :D
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Michael H Standart on Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:24 pm

Lot's of "IF'S" there, but I suppose that's par for the course when the government gets involved. There are more strings attatched then on a puppet!

>>Incidentially the projeted annual tourist figures to make the project viable has now risen to 800,000 per annum<<

What does tourism bring now and where are the tourists going? I'll bet the old shipyard will be a lot more interesting if there's something there to keep their attention and attract new customers, but they have to build it first.

>>Oh well better to live in hope than to die in despair I suppose.<<

It's a risk, but then it's the risk takers who accomplish things. I don't know of a lot of naysayers who can say the same, and they fall strangely silent when asked for any better ideas.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Timothy Trower on Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:47 am

Sure, there is risk involved. But since it involves government money, the same safeguards that private industry would take will probably be ignored since there will be limited financial involvement private industry.

Even with a projected visitor level of 800,000 (and I have to ask -- why the doubling of this vital number?) they propose to spend right at $200 million U.S. Dollars on the project. Titanic Tennessee will have a private investment of just $25 million with projections approaching 500,000 visitors in a year -- and it will turn a profit without the need for tax dollars and grants. Indeed, this project will pay taxes instead of ever requiring them!

Also, both Titanic Branson and Titanic Tennessee are in acknowledged tourist areas with multiple millions of visitors to each every year. Can Belfast make that claim? Branson and Pigeon Forge are also areas that will continue to attract tourists well beyond 2012. Will Belfast?

I just don't see a lot of risk when you are using someone else's money. Better to let private enterprise to handle this task -- if it is financially viable. Otherwise the government of Northern Ireland may well wind up with another DeLorean on its hands.
All the best,

Tim

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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Tom McCluskie on Sat Nov 29, 2008 7:12 am

As almost all the financing is coming from government bodies, the harbour commissioners and Belfast City Council together with the massive cash injection from the department of finance very little in the way of private investment is coming from the private sector. Harcourt Developments etc are only stumping up approx 8% of the total cost. The project was "touted" around several private sector investors who all very quickly realised this project was tantamount to simply burning money and therefore never had any intention of investing. Risk takers may be many things, stupid isn't one of them :D

The figure of 800,000 tourists is the number crunched by the accountants tasked with producing the final costings and represents the minimum number of visitors each year just to break even. Put another way there is not a hope in hell of ever coming close to these numbers. NI itself usually numbers between 750,000 & 900,000 visitors per year and most of them are mainly visitors to the Irish Republic who decided to cross the border as part of their visit. As for attractions in the area, simple answer is the aren't any!! :cry: The sights and sounds of the shipyard are long since gone and unless you like to view office blocks and appartments you will be disappointed. The only vestage of the old company to remain are the main office block, soon to be converted into an office complex and the Thompson Drydock which is currently off limits to visitors but the pump house now contains a quaint cafe and tea bar. :lol: WOW!! be still my trembling heart. Other than that you just have to use your imagination or buy a good history book!

I apologise if I sound very negative, I don't mean to be but rather simply reporting the facts and opinions prevalent here about this development. On a final note the projected cost of £ 97 million has already risen to £ 105 million and its only been announced two days!! Unfortunately the track record of the UK in costing such projects is very poor and usually winds up costing at least double the first estimate. Just look at the costings for the 2012 Olympics and you'll get the idea. Oh well I suppose it's true that a fool and their money are soon parted, which is probably why we're in the mess we currently are. :lol:
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Michael H Standart on Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:54 pm

>>I apologise if I sound very negative, I don't mean to be but rather simply reporting the facts and opinions prevalent here about this development.<<

Tom, if I may, never apologize for being a realist. It may not be popular, but if you're right and thry're wrong, then that's all the justification you need.

I would like to hold out some hope that this is going to work out but the numbers are what they are. We may not like it but that doesn't make them go away, much as we would wish otherwise. What I'm wondering is what might be done to improve the situation. A museum perhaps? Branson put themselves on the map that way, quite successfully that way, and without the government's help. Seems to me as if some lessons can be learned from that example.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Doug Criner on Sat May 16, 2009 4:47 pm

I visited Belfast a couple of years ago and viewed the large H&W drydock.

I can't recall whether somebody told me of this idea or I thought of it myself: Rig up some kind of laser light show that would depict the outline of the Titanic in the drydock. At night, it would show the enormity of Titanic. It would cost a lot less than US$ 200 million for the proposed amusement park, and would still be an attraction, I think.

You mentioned that the drydock is off limits to the public. I arrived at Belfast via a cruise ship, and took a private tour via taxi, leaving from our ship's pier. I don't remember for sure, but I think that in the process of driving from our pier, we gained access to the H&W yard. In any case, our taxi pulled up to the edge of the drydock and I got out and walked around, taking photos. The yard seemed pretty much deserted.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Pat Toms on Mon May 25, 2009 5:05 am

the titanic signal project seems to be having a lot of publicity,but when i did the tour of belfast docks on a converted mtb with restaurant and on board facilities it seems that the powers to be were not interested,and the tour from belfast to cobh,which was another success,no public money was used,to use the public money for some of these schemes in order to compete with the americans and southampton,seems a competition,not a business enterprise,however in spite of this one can only hope that the proposed money is not wasted for the sake of the taxpayers,just to employ people who i would like to think are accountable for the use of public money,how long will it take for these schemes to break even?has this eventuality been accounted for?a frantic scramble for 2012,these schemes should be ready now.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby cowselder on Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:58 pm

Hello all from the shadow of the great Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast,
I just stumbled on your site and I congratulate everyone involved in the Titanic Historical Society.
I was reading on the forum about the Titanic Signature Project and I was disappointed with some of the posts I read especially those from “Tom McCluskie” who says he is from Northern Ireland.
Firstly he said about a poll of UTV viewers and 65% of people disagreed about the money that Titanic Belfast was going to cost. I can say that I never remembered such a poll and I am sure that the people of Belfast would say such a thing about something so deep in affection held by all here. And as for money, think of the money that has been wasted in thirty years of troubles in Northern Ireland and now our Local Government made up from both sides of our community, decided and helped finance this for all our people to be proud of, and I hope that this is the first of many things that will bring the world to our shores.
I don’t know if Mr McCluskie has himself any history of the H&W shipyard and the Titanic, but I have plenty of history of which I am very proud of firstly my two great grandfathers worked on the Titanic and her sisters, one a riveter and the other a master joiner (carpenter) also my grandfather and my father as well as myself worked at H&W as welders.
Also I am a very proud member of the Harland & Wolff Welders Football and Social Club 18-20 Dee Street Belfast and where there are a lot of original photographs and paintings about the Titanic and other ships built in the yard, many of the photos are ones you would never see anywhere else in Belfast or on the internet, and some came from the drawing office where the Titanic was designed.
Some of the other posts are very negative and I sense a touch of envy of what we are doing here in Belfast with The Titanic Belfast Project. I live in the shadow of the shipyard and along with everyone else are very proud of what is going on. The Titanic Belfast Project is already sold out to after October 2012 and we will have a tourist attraction the envy of the whole world. To stand on the very spot where she was born is something only Belfast can offer.
I also read with dismay another post from someone who visited on a cruise ship who said that they got a taxi ride to the “dock” and the Yard was deserted. I have to say to that person, that was the Thompson Dry Dock where the Titanic and quite a few more of the ships where fitted out and that to this day Harland & Wolff is still a working shipyard working mostly nowadays on the renewable energy sector and ship repair and under Goliath and Samson, lies one of the world’s biggest dry docks and only recently been knocked of the perch as the biggest.
So for anyone coming to Belfast to see Titanic’s birthplace, Visit Titanic Belfast and be amazed

This is the web address http://www.titanicbelfast.com/Home.aspx
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Doug Criner on Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:58 pm

I believe that Tom McCluskie was formerly employed at the H&R shipyard, and has written a book about it. I live in the U.S., so I don't have a dog in this fight.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Timothy Trower on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:14 pm

Tom was, indeed, a long-time employee at Harland & Wolff. His book, No Place for a Boy is the story of his life at the shipyard and should be at the top of your list when researching Harland & Wolff. I guess I find it strange that you aren't aware of who he is.
All the best,

Tim

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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby cowselder on Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:02 pm

Timothy Trower wrote:Tom was, indeed, a long-time employee at Harland & Wolff. His book, No Place for a Boy is the story of his life at the shipyard and should be at the top of your list when researching Harland & Wolff. I guess I find it strange that you aren't aware of who he is.


I am in no way contradicting Tom's statments or calling his good name into question, I am only stating some things of which I was not aware ie. the utv poll. And I do know of Tom McCluskie who ended up within the management of H&W. I have a lot of respect for the man, but I am only stating that myself and my family were "hands on or on the tools" for the great Harland and Wolff and I cant tell you how proud I am not only of the Titanic but the Men who built her and the other ships that these men built from plate steel, the Harland & Wolff shipyard and its men have so many records to their names and in some of the posts I read there was some sort of statments that actually to me, meant that Belfast should not have a memory to the Titanic and that we would not get the visitors to see it and because public money was going to be used to help fund it. I really hope we do get people to see not only about the Titanic but take an intrest of H&W and Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole.
Please excuse me if I offended anyone, it was not intended.
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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Timothy Trower on Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:50 pm

No offense taken! Had you received an email from my THS Message Board account last evening? We do need to correct your name to conform with message board rules.

Thanks.
All the best,

Tim

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Re: Titanic signature project

Postby Tom McCluskie on Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:26 am

Ha!! you speak for yourself... :evil: only kidding :lol: The UTV poll was taken when the Titanic Signature Project was first announced some years ago but I would suspect the majority of citizens would still hold similar views regarding the expense to the public purse. If, and it remains a very BIG if, this project is so lucrative an investment why did the commercial investors shun it?

Regarding being proud to have worked in Harland and Wolff I can only refer to my comments in my book " I count myself fortunate indeed to have had the privilege of working alongside men (and women) to whom the name Harland and Wolff meant they were part of an extraordinary and exceptional group of people" Further it is my honour to have worked alongside some of the finest men I have ever known.

Sadly Harland and Wolff today are no longer involved in shipbuilding, the machinery has been sold and the vast majority of the infrastructure has been demolished. It also must be said that, especially in the latter years, the company did it's utmost to shun the history of the RMS Titanic. A fact well known within Maritime historical circles.
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