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Lofty aims for Belfast linen building as it's refitted for high-end offices

By John Mulgrew

A former linen building in Belfast is undergoing a major refit and refurbishment as it’s turned into new top-end office space.

The Linen Loft, a six-storey development on Adelaide Street, was formerly known as the Ireland Brothers Building.

Built in 1905, the linen firm operated there until the Health and Social Care Board took over until the 1990s.

The building was bought by Redbay Developments in November 2014, which has taken on Bangor-based MMM Design & Build to turn the inside into grade A office space.

Aside from loft-style office space, the contractors are developing an outdoor terrace on each floor. David Wright, director of commercial property firm CBRE, which acted in the sale, said The Linen Loft is a “particularly exciting development in Belfast”.

He added: “Due to be completed later this year, it gives a slightly different offering to either local companies interested in an expansion or an FDI keen to set up a Belfast office. We expect to see a high level of interest for this

location, with many interested parties already coming forward.

“It is no secret that Belfast does not currently meet the demand for grade A office space, so a development such as this, with 28,000 sq ft available, is a lift for the office market here.”

A report last year warned that Northern Ireland could lose out on attracting crucial foreign direct investment due to a lack of prime office space.

Invest NI has suggested it intervenes in the market here to help “stimulate the development of new grade A office accommodation”.

And it said there is “limited potential” for significant development over the next five years due to a lack of developer cash.

Gareth McDowell of London and Belfast-based architects McDowell+Bostock, designers of The Linen Loft, said: “From the beginning there was great potential with this building.

“The large number of windows and the three-metre-high ceilings made it easier to build an acutely attractive space. There is a particularly good quality of space which means light can enter the building.

“Physically it is a perfect depth for light penetration on both sides and with limited structural supports, so we have a good open design layout.

“The extensions on each floor which provide a roof terrace add to the feeling it’s an open and bright space.”

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