Posted on Tuesday 31 January 2017 by ub digital

Belfast construction sector busiest since 2008

Belfast City Council’s Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie joins Deloitte Partner Simon Bedford to launch Deloitte’s first Belfast Crane Survey. 

 

The construction sector in Belfast has experienced its busiest year since 2008, according to a new report from Deloitte.

Its Real Estate Crane Survey revealed that 30 schemes are currently under construction or have been recently completed in the city, a sign of a resurgence in the sector after several quiet years since the start of the downturn.

Of that, 19 schemes are currently under construction while 11 were completed during 2016, including four new educational facilities, seven new student accommodation projects, six office developments and eight hotels.

Simon Bedford, partner in Deloitte’s Real Estate practice, said the city is on the up.

“The report shows that Belfast is on an upward trajectory as a location for investment and development. The number of developments completed and breaking ground in Belfast during 2016 demonstrates real progress since the release of Belfast City Council’s City Centre Investment Framework in 2015.”

The report measured the volume of development – including office, retail, leisure, residential, student accommodation, education and hotels - taking place across the so-called “city core”: the Waterfront, Titanic Quarter, Transport Hub, Inner North and Southern Fringe.

It measures offices over 10,000 square feet, retail space over 10,000 square feet, residential over 25 units and only “significant” education, leisure and hotel schemes.

Mr Bedford said the education and tourism sectors have been particularly busy with two hotels completed in 2016 and a further six currently under construction, in total set to deliver over 1,000 new hotel rooms.

And the report said Ulster University’s new campus is set to be a game changer.

It said almost 2,500 student accommodation bed-spaces across seven major projects are currently being built in the city centre area.

This is in addition to 413 bed-spaces that completed in 2016. Queen’s University is also continuing its investment in new teaching facilities and supporting new student residential development in the city centre.

And he said the pipeline for development is encouraging.

“Our first Belfast Crane Survey confirms that Belfast has much to look forward to. Preparation work is taking place on the construction of a new transport interchange at Great Victoria Street and the development of a cultural hub around York Street/ North Street. Reshaped plans for the Royal Exchange area are also moving forward.

“These plans will drive the next major moves for Belfast as a city. It is also highly encouraging to note the direct investment being made by Belfast City Council in their city centre – most notably in 2016 through the joint acquisition of the historic former Belfast Telegraph building on York Street.”

Meanwhile, Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, said Belfast is set for a period of growth.

“Over the next five years, the City has, through its recently launched Belfast Agenda, set out more ambitious targets to create 15,000 new jobs, double tourism spend and encourage another £1.5bn of investment in more buildings and regeneration projects to meet demands. This survey demonstrates that we have momentum that will be to the benefit of every part of Northern Ireland, not just Belfast.

“The model that works for all successful regions across the world is to develop a very strong city which helps to grow supply chains throughout the region, creates significantly more money in people’s pockets to spend and helps to pay for the infrastructure and local developments needed across Northern Ireland.”     

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