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Belfast could get 50 more offices over the next five years

By John Mulgrew

Published 16/11/2016

Demand: Simon McEvoy
Demand: Simon McEvoy

Almost 50 new office buildings capable of holding a total of 40,000 workers could be built in Belfast in just five years, a report has claimed. Commercial property company Savills said that nine office developments - comprising 618,000 sq ft - were currently under construction or major refurbishment in the city.

It added that two-thirds of that office space had been reserved by companies.

Savills insisted that "contrary to the negativity surrounding Brexit and the US election result", Belfast would continue to serve as an "attractive location for existing occupiers to grow, and for new international businesses to locate."

It noted that around 20 developments had received planning approval, but were not on site, while 18 were in the planning or pre-planning stages.

Simon McEvoy, head of office agency at Savills Belfast, said: "New office construction and refurbishment in Belfast came to a complete halt as a result of the economic downturn.

"With 1.2 million sq ft of take-up in the market since the last new office completion in 2012, we are now faced with a chronic under-supply of grade A stock, which is currently sub 2% and falling."

"The lack of quality supply has long been discussed. However, the market lacked faith in the latent occupier demand and the potential for rental growth to reach levels to support new development."

"Now - as evidenced by the increase in planning applications - development has become viable again."

The company added that while office prices in Belfast were increasing faster than anywhere else in the UK and Ireland, they were still among the lowest.

Belfast Telegraph

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