One of the driving forces behind the proposed £50 million redevelopment of Bangor quayside has said the first phase of the project could be delivered by the end of next year.
Speaking to The Irish News at the first pre-application consultation open day, Aran Blackbourne from local consortium Bangor Marine believes the Queen's Parade scheme can have a "transformational" impact on the town, aided by a "world-class" public realm scheme.
The managing director of the Karl Group explained that following the conclusion of the 17-week public consultation period, which includes a total of four public events, they hope to lodge a planning application in August.
If successful it could pave the way for work to begin on site early night year.
"It's possible," Mr Blackbourne said
"It's going to be a wee bit of a push, but everyone's behind making this work as fast as possible.
"With a fair wind in a year's time we're hopefully starting on site and within six months or thereabouts after you would hope to start to see some real difference. So by the end of 2020, the beginning of 2021 you should start to see the plans really taking shape."
The current proposals for the site, which the developer insists are not yet set in stone, feature a 70-80 bed hotel, provision for between 100 and 120 homes, a cinema, as well as a mix of office and retail space.
At the heart of the plans is a "world-class" public realm scheme, featuring; cafés, a sheltered promenade,a children's play area, seafront lawns and a water feature.
Mr Blackbourne believes this portion of the scheme in particular could help reinvigorate Bangor as a seaside resort.
"Bangor is a huge opportunity to create a much more active waterfront. You see what has happened in other towns such as Newcastle when they put in the promenade. That was the real trigger that brought Newcastle to the high level that it is now at."
"Bangor was the place to go to for a day out and we're doing everything we can to make it that place again. It is also about making it a vibrant and attractive place to live. That's the way it can really set itself apart from other seaside towns that become quieter in the winter months. Bangor can be a really strong and vibrant place to live all year round," he added.
The pre-application community consultation process began yesterday with an open day at the Project 24 Hub on Bangor's seafront. A second open day is due to take place today, with further events scheduled for August 1 and 2.
Bangor Marine is a joint partnership between Co Antrim-based Karl Group and Belfast building contractor, Farrans.