Belfast Telegraph

Benmore gets green light to build flagship office development

By Laurence White

A Northern Ireland property development company, which has an extensive portfolio in Scotland and England, has received planning approval for an office development in the heart of Newcastle.

The Benmore Group will build a five storey scheme called Star Exchange — the first premium office development in the city.

Construction of the new scheme, which will boast full height glazing to upper floors, 147 car parking spaces, a glazed feature reception area, onsite cafe and breakout facility will begin in the autumn. The development will create a mix of new and refurbished top quality office accommodation, leisure and retail facilities.

Tenants of the fourth floor will be housed in a stunning glass roof extension, including an external viewing deck with panoramic views of the city.

David Burrows, chief executive of the Benmore Group, said: “We’re delighted to have received planning approval for this high spec office and mixed use scheme. Plans for this development reflect our ongoing expertise in the refurbishment of significant buildings of this type, as well as our commitment to the regeneration of the area. “This development will meet the needs of those businesses which want a prominent central office location in a high quality scheme.”

Star Exchange is located at the heart of Newcastle’s city centre at the former Zurich House on Fenkle Street, a few minutes walk from the prime retail core of Eldon Square and Northumberland Street and the city’s bars and restaurants.

The building is located next to the historic Assembly Rooms, which date from 1776. It forms part of architect’s Surface + Light + Space’s Grainger Town masterplan, which will create a £16m office and leisure quarter in new and existing historic buildings as well as improved outdoor spaces including cafe areas.

Stuart Palmer, of Surface + Light + Space, said: “It has been a pleasure to work on this exciting scheme, which will greatly improve the environment at this key crossroads and justify the area’s claim to be a really great place to come to work. Our own offices are located nearby on Charlotte Square and we thoroughly enjoy our location.”

The scheme is being marketed by agents Knight Frank and James Barr, who believe it is well placed to meet occupier demand for city centre accommodation.

David Nicholson of James Barr said: “Star Exchange will offer a new and exciting opportunity to city centre occupiers. Its proximity to the Central Station and generous on site car parking will prove to be a strong attractions for tenants

Benmore Group is based in Belfast and was founded by local businessmen Kevin McKay. The Group has significant holdings in the UK and are poised to submit further applications for hotels, car parks, leisure and foodstore uses on its key sites in the North West.

Belfast Telegraph