Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Science Park to expand further

By Margaret Canning

The Northern Ireland Science Park is expanding by one-third in a £6m investment by landowners, Belfast Harbour.

The new building, which could cater for another 500 staff, will be bought as an investment property by Belfast Harbour and is also backed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and Barclays Bank. Around 100 companies employing 1,500 people are already working in the science park, mainly in the IT, engineering and biotech sectors. They include NaviNet, L&T Infotech and CEI Collins Engineers.

The new land will be leased back to the science park, with the new building - the second of three in the development, The Concourse - due to open in August next year.

KANA Software is one of two companies to have signed pre-let agreements for the new development. Frank Hewitt, the chairman of Northern Ireland Science Park, said the park had been a "fertile growth platform" for high-tech companies.

"Our success to date has attracted a lot of interest from technology firms keen to set up or expand their operations at the park and we have already entered into two pre-let agreements for the new building with knowledge-based firms keen to continue their rapid growth in Northern Ireland.

"Given the challenging economic and funding conditions, we are delighted that Belfast Harbour has been willing to make this investment, which allows NISP to expand to meet occupier demand.''

Belfast Harbour said its involvement was an effort to attract inward investors to the science park.

Chief executive Roy Adair said: "Belfast Harbour has a long track record of working with its tenants in the Harbour Estate to develop infrastructure and facilities for the benefit of all involved.

"Given the lack of liquidity in the credit markets, on this occasion the Harbour has been able to help facilitate the development of Concourse Phase II."

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "This latest investment in the Northern Ireland Science Park is evidence of the growth potential for local entrepreneurs and for the creation of a strong knowledge-based economy here."

Belfast Harbour's activities are shipping, warehouse and distribution services and managing the harbour estate, including the Titanic Quarter where the science park is located.

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