£55m office development looks set to be given green light by Belfast City Council planners
One of the largest office developments planned for Belfast city centre is expected to get the green light later this month - valued at £55m.
Property developer Paddy Kearney is planning to develop a series of huge office buildings across the city over the next few years, in order to help meet a severe shortage of top-end office space in Belfast.
Mr Kearney's Kilmona Holdings will build two large buildings in a new development called Lanyon Central at East Bridge Street.
It's due to be made up of four separate buildings, including 14-storey and 10-storey office buildings, along with two smaller buildings.
Planners from Belfast City Council said on balance "the proposal would constitute an acceptable development at this location" and would "deliver the regeneration of a brownfield site in the city centre".
Kilmona, the firm behind the scheme, said the investment is worth £55m, and could create as many as 350 construction jobs over a two-year period.
It says the buildings would be able to hold 2,500 workers once completed.
The development will go before the planning committee on Tuesday, and is being put forward for approval.
It would be one of the largest single office developments proposed for the city in more than a decade.
The development will also feature retail units, car parking at lower ground floor level with an external plaza and landscaping.
The new buildings will sit on an empty brownfield site beside Central Station in east Belfast.
But the major development has received several objections from residents, as well as from Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir, who is now Finance Minister.
In a letter to planners, he said: "I believe that the planned development would totally dominate the residential properties in the immediate area."
Speaking about the scale and size, planners said that "given the urban city centre context, it is considered that the height of the buildings proposed on East Bridge Street are acceptable and would not harm the character or appearance of the immediate area.
"The form and height of the proposal establishes a presence that responds to the scale and massing of other commercial buildings in the immediate environment that is considered to be appropriate."
Elsewhere in the city, Paddy Kearney has applied for planning permission to build another new office development.
His company is planning to knock down Scottish Amicable House at Donegall Square South, beside his hotel Ten Square, and build a nine-storey office development.
He had originally applied for permission to use the building as another extension to the hotel, asking to add another 66 bedrooms. The firm says it hasn't withdrawn that application, and instead is adding "options at this site".
A spokesman had told the Belfast Telegraph the application "is a response to the pent-up office demand in Belfast".