Posted on Wednesday 4 September 2013 by Ulster Business

Business Space Development

Plans have been submitted for a major new office development in Titanic Quarter, a further indication of increased confidence in the economic recovery.

Titanic Quarter has lodged a full planning application for 190,000 sq ft of business space which includes office accommodation and supporting facilities.

The building, which will cost £20m to develop, is believed to be the largest new commercial development proposed for Belfast since the banking crisis began in 2007.

Located beside Belfast Metropolitan College's Titanic Quarter Campus, the site will be marketed primarily at companies providing hi-tech support to the Financial Services industry.

Titanic Quarter is already home to a number of high-profile firms in the sector, such as banking giant Citi, and the new £20m building will complement plans already in the works to develop a 600,000 sq ft Financial Services Centre.

Pending the granting of planning permission, it's anticipated that the building will open in autumn 2015 and could see a further 2,000 people coming to work in the area.

A long term development project, the 185-acre Titanic Quarter site in the Belfast Harbour estate is also home to the Northern Ireland Science Park, ECIT, the Titanic Film Studios and the Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.

David Gavaghan, Titanic Quarter's CEO, said: "As we see the first tangible signs that we are moving out of one of the longest economic recessions in the last century, it is time to ensure that Belfast can continue to offer potential investors flexible, modern, high-end business accommodation.

"Titanic Quarter is confident that this new development will fill a clear gap in the market, enabling Belfast to meet the requirements of the global knowledge economy, as well as offering indigenous firms the opportunity to expand in a dynamic area which is already home to over 100 successful and innovative businesses.

"We are already working hard to market the building and the city as we continue to develop Titanic Quarter as one of the world's most exciting waterfront locations.

"Belfast is establishing a strong reputation in financial services, with the Financial Times recently listing the city as the number one destination globally for financial technology R&D investments and among the top destination cities globally for financial services technology investments."

Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI, also welcomed the plans, saying: "During 2012/2013 Invest NI secured almost 2,800 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) jobs with Northern Ireland continuing to be one of the most successful regions in the UK for inward investment.

"Being able to select from a wide range of property solutions is a key factor for potential investors and I am pleased that Titanic Quarter is planning to enhance Belfast's property mix."

The CBI Northern Ireland Director, Nigel Smyth, said he hopes the planning application would be processed promptly.

"There is a strategic shortage of high quality office space in Belfast – which will impact on our ability to attract in new international investors and support the growth of indigenous companies.

"It is vitally important for the health of the city that we create the necessary infrastructure to support job growth. The Titanic Quarter has been a great success to date and offers exciting opportunities in the future."

The new facility will comprise two blocks of six and seven storeys respectively. Located on the site of a former engineering works, the building when completed will occupy a 0.85-acre site fronting the Queen's Road between Belfast Metropolitan's Titanic Quarter Campus and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.

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