Belfast Telegraph

Developers set to get green light for Belfast office schemes

By John Mulgrew

Two of Northern Ireland's best known property developers look set to get the green light for multi-million pound office buildings in Belfast city centre. The Merchant Square project, which is being developed by Gareth Graham's firm Oakland, will see Oyster House undergo a series of renovations and extensions worth £20m.

The first phase of the scheme was granted planning permission at the end of last year, for the refurbishment and extension of Oyster House and Royston House, on the corner of Wellington Place and Upper Queen Street.

The proposal will add an extra 2,115 sq metres of office space.

There are now plans to extend the seventh floor, along with two additional floors above, for new office space. There will also be two new retail units and a reworked entrance.

It's being put forward for approval, and will be raised at next week's planning committee.

A report said: "It is requested that committee delegate authority to the director of planning and place to grant planning permission" subject to conditions.

In a design statement, it says that the refurbished building "will provide a grade A standard of office accommodation in the main office area of Belfast city centre".

Referring to the demand for office space here, the report adds that "Belfast as an office location is still one of the most affordable in the UK and offers strong fundamentals for both rental and capital growth".

Meanwhile, Frank Boyd is expected to get approval to knock down a large office building at Donegall Square South, and build a brand new nine-storey office block.

The building is currently home to the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Frank Boyd's firm Killultagh Estates bought the General Accident building on Donegall Square South, which was on the market for £3.5m.

The new development would include two levels of underground parking, and office space.

The new offices come as Belfast undergoes a series of huge developments.

They include the demolition of the Movie House cinema on the Dublin Road, to be replaced by a £65m 12-storey block capable of holding 3,000 staff.

Meanwhile, developer Paddy Kearney was awarded planning permission last year for a £55m office project. Lanyon Central will be built beside Central Station.

Work will also soon finish on City Quays 2, part of the major waterside redevelopment at Belfast Harbour. Tenders have already been issued for the next phase, the 17-storey City Quays 3 building.

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