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North Street Arcade, Belfast, destroyed in fire
I was shocked and saddened to see this report on Sunday morning. Yet another setback for independent retailers in the city centre, sad because it housed Terri Hooley's new shop opened after the demise of Good Vibrations, a practice facility for local bands, and a promising acoustic music venue (Arcadia), and worrying because it was also home to the offices of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, easily Belfast's most impressive arts festival, which is just about to get underway for a fifth year. Thankfully everyone got out alive, although the same can't be said for the poor animals in the arcade's pet shop. I hope that something good can come out of it, although with another huge increase in commercial rents on the way courtesy of our fat-cat property developers, I don't think it'll rise from the physical ashes of the arcade.

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