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New £55m office development gets the green light for Belfast

By John Mulgrew

Published 20/09/2016

What the new Lanyon development in Belfast could look like
What the new Lanyon development in Belfast could look like

The developer behind a proposed new £55m office building for Belfast says he already has interest from a business in taking it over.

The Lanyon Central development — which would sit beside Central Station in Belfast — was given the green light at Tuesday's planning committee meeting.

It's due to be made up of four separate buildings, including 14-storey and 10-storey office buildings, along with two smaller buildings.

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.

A decision on whether to approve the series of buildings had previously been deferred, and also received opposition from local residents.

Those living around the area fear the development will overshadow the existing houses.

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.

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.

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."

And Alliance MLA for South Belfast, Paula Bradshaw, also said she supports a campaign from residents in the Markets area of the city to reject the application.

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".

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