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HMRC to announce new Belfast hub for 1,300 staff

By John Mulgrew

HMRC is expected to reveal the location of its new Northern Ireland central office in Belfast in the next few weeks - which will see around 1,300 staff being relocated.

In 2015, HMRC announced it was closing all 10 of its offices across Northern Ireland ahead of a move to one central facility in Belfast.

Now, a report from commercial property firm CBRE says a new location is expected to be announced in the next few months. There had been speculation HMRC could move to a major site such as City Quays at Belfast Harbour.

The report says office space take-up increased by 40% in 2016, based on the same period a year earlier. CBRE says it expects 2017 "to be another strong year given the current market activity". Major lettings in the second half of 2016 include Rapid 7, A&L Goodbody and Tourism NI.

David Wright, CBRE director in Belfast, said: "Belfast saw a record level of take-up in 2016 as it continues to move away on its reliance from the public sector. FDI announcements continued and this is being translated into new office take up."

There was 465,000 sq ft of office space available in Belfast at the end of last year. That represents a 41% drop since the end of the first half of the year.

The report also says that McAleer & Rushe is progressing on the next phase of its Bedford Square scheme.

But it warned about "limited construction" of grade A offices for the city and that refurbishment of existing developments "will be extremely important".

In 2016, that included Lincoln House on Great Victoria Street.

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