14 August 2017

Property developers set for multi-million pound office schemes


Two popular Northern Ireland property developers look set to go ahead with the refurbishment of multi-million pound office buildings in Belfast’s city centre. The Merchant Square project, which is undergoing development by Gareth Graham’s firm Oakland, will see Oyster House endure a number of renovations and extensions worth £20m.

The first phase of The Merchant Square project gained planning permission at the end of 2016. This permission included the refurbishment of Oyster House and Royston House which is located on the corner of Wellington Place and Upper Queen Street.

This proposal is expected to add a further 2,115 sq metres of office space.

There are also plans to provide new office space by extending the seventh floor and a further two additional floors. There are further proposals for two new retail units and a revised entrance. These plans are being forwarded for approval and will be raised at next week’s planning committee.

A report states: “It is requested that committee delegate authority to the director of planning and place to grant planning permission” subject to conditions.

In a design statement, it highlights that the renovated building “will provide a grade A standard of office accommodation in the main office area of Belfast city centre”.

In regards to the demand for office space, the report continues “Belfast as an office location is still one of the most affordable in the UK and offers strong fundamentals for both rental and capital growth”

Meanwhile, Frank Boyd is likely to receive approval to demolish a large office building at Donegall Square South, and construct a new nine-storey office block.

At present, this building is home to the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Frank Boyd’s firm Killultagh Estates purchased the General Accident building which was on sale for £3.5m.

It is believed this new development will contain two levels of underground parking and office space.

The offices come as Belfast undergoes a series of vast developments.

These developments include the demolition of Dublin Road’s Movie House cinema which is to be replaced by a 12-storey building capable of containing 3,000 staff at a cost of £65m.

Meanwhile, developer Paddy Kearney was given planning permission in 2016 for an office project. Lanyon Central will be constructed beside Central Station.

Work is due to soon finish on City Quays 2 which is part of the major waterside renovation at Belfast Harbour. Tenders have already been issued for the next phase, the 17-storey City Quays 3 building.

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