Today the yard's two giant yellow cranes stand sentinel over leafy streets and avenues that are firm favourites for families and first-time buyers looking for the ideal blend of shops, restaurants, entertainment and schools.
Part of its appeal is that East Belfast resembles a series of small, interlinked villages – Ballyhackamore, Belmont, Bloomfield, Gilnahirk, Cherryvalley – all with thoroughly modern facilities but each retaining its own distinctive heritage, character and friendly ambience.
BT4 and BT5 are very desirable post codes, indicative of areas in the city that are synonymous with great quality and exceptional value homes that are highly popular with families:
Ballyhackamore - with easy city centre access via the Belfast Rapid Transit system, this a most appealing place to settle down and establish roots.
Belmont - with rows of cosy terraces; spectacular, spacious semis and delightful detached dwellings, the Belmont Road and its environs are ideal for anyone seeking to start, settle or retire.
Bloomfield - a popular residential location that enjoys a wide range of amenities including Connswater Shopping Centre and has excellent transport links to Belfast City Centre.
Gilnahirk - suburban living, yet next door to the countryside, Gilnahirk boasts a range of local shops, public transport links and excellent local schools. No wonder it's such a popular residential choice.
Cherryvalley - with such an enticing name, Cherryvalley doesn't fail to deliver a quality living environment with top-notch housing. Plus plenty of cherry trees!
Here are just some of the many outstanding schools to be found in East Belfast
Founded in 1894, this private day and boarding school for boys is committed to raising expectations, fostering enthusiasm and inspiring a love of learning.
An all-girls' voluntary grammar school, Strathearn strives to help girls reach their academic potential and mature into well-rounded contributors to society.
A controlled grammar school for girls that fosters the personalised care, guidance and support that helps girls to achieve their ambitions.
Provides a supportive learning environment in which all are inspired to achieve high standards and to become tolerant and confident adults.
This co-educational voluntary grammar school takes prides in encouraging pupils to fulfil their full potential within a supportive Christian environment.
Beautiful gardens, a variety of walks, fitness and adventure trails, a children's playground, picnic and barbecue areas, historic buildings and monuments.
A large area of open parkland, alive with wildflowers and wildlife, plus an eco-trail, outdoor gym and children's playground.
Features two walking trails around a lake which is home to water birds such as swans, geese, ducks, herons and migrant waders.
Not just a farm but a fantastic family experience where children and parents can learn and play together.
Two Greenways offer traffic-free routes from Titanic Quarter to the Castlereagh Hills and from Belfast City Centre to Comber.
Follow in the footsteps of such East Belfast greats as Van Morrison, C.S. Lewis and George Best.