Posted on Monday 7 October 2013 by Ulster Business

City quays small

Belfast Harbour has received planning approval to build a new £10m office building, the largest city-centre office development to be granted approval since the start of the recession.

The 83,000 sq ft, Grade A office development, represents the first phase of a 20-acre, £250m, mixed-use, office-led scheme known as City Quays.

The new five storey building, CQ1 (City Quays 1), will be located on a waterfront site near Belfast Harbour Office.

The Harbour is currently in the process of appointing a contractor to start work on the £10m project with construction due to begin this month. It's expected that CQ1 will be ready for occupancy by October 2014.

Approval for the project is the latest sign that some life is returning to the Northern Ireland commercial property market. Last month Titanic Quarter Ltd said it had lodged a full planning application for a 190,000 sq ft business office space which would cost £20m to develop.

Roy Adair, Belfast Harbour's CEO, said: "CQ1 is the city-ward extension of Clarendon Dock which is already home to a number of significant occupants such as Intel, Capita and Grant Thornton. Belfast Harbour has been working closely with Invest NI to address the gap in Grade A office space in Belfast city centre and CQ1 will be available for a full range of commercial office uses.

"This investment, funded entirely by Belfast Harbour, will meet the needs of emerging demand and we have already been exploring a number of strong leads in sectors such as IT and financial services.

"CQ1 will be the largest office to be built in Belfast since 2009 and it's a timely reminder ahead of next week's investment conference with the Prime Minister that Northern Ireland is serious about securing more inward investors."

Graeme Johnston, the Harbour's Property Director added: "Located in the heart of the city's historic maritime district, CQ1 is part of Belfast Harbour's ongoing plans to regenerate those areas of the Harbour Estate no longer required for shipping.

"Clarendon Dock has proved to be a very popular location for investors with almost 250,000 sq ft of office space already developed and occupied. CQ1 is a natural next step and we believe that the Harbour's ability to deliver a finished, turn-key office next year will prove attractive to potential occupants."

The overall City Quays area was master-planned by award-winning architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, London, whose projects include the internationally-acclaimed Eden Project in Cornwall. The wider City Quays development will include a mix of commercial offices, shops, cafes, restaurants, hotel space and residential accommodation.

Belfast Harbour said CQ1, designed by Northern Ireland based RPP architects, will complement Titanic Quarter and the Northern Ireland Science Park as part of the wider 2,000-acre Habour Estate.

Belfast Harbour handles 67% of Northern Ireland's sea borne trade and is a vital gateway for raw materials, exports and consumer goods for the entire island. The Port is also Northern Ireland's leading logistics and distribution hub and is home to many well-known local businesses such as the George Best City Airport, Harland & Wolff, Bombardier, Odyssey, the NI Science Park, Titanic Quarter and Titanic Belfast.


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