Belfast Telegraph

£20m Oyster House revamp to boost Belfast office space

By John Mulgrew

A £20m revamped Belfast office building by developer Gareth Graham could make room for 3,000 staff, it can be revealed. The new Merchant Square development will see Oyster House undergo a series of renovations and extensions, which will double the rates value of the property to £2m.

It's being developed by Oakland, a company run by Graham.

This week the first phase of the scheme was granted planning permission 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 2,115sq metres of office floor space.

But it's just the first stage of the development.

A spokesman for Oakland told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are very excited about this transformative project which has the capacity to lift the whole Wellington Square area.

"There is a need for more grade A office space in the city centre and our project has the potential to eventually house 3,000 employees.

"We have already had positive discussions with the council officials and we look forward to taking our plans forward in 2017." Developer Graham previously took vulture fund Cerberus to court after it assumed control of his companies.

However, earlier this year he used a newspaper advertisement to apologise for criticisms made of the organisation, and in return he regained control of his businesses.

Meanwhile, a company run by Mr Graham, Bushview Developments, is behind a new apartment project in the Co Antrim village of Bushmills.

It's located close to the Bushmills Distillery.

The development, on the River Bush, includes 34 apartments.

These will be a mixture of two and three bedroom apartments, alongside two retail units and parking facilities.

Progress on the new office plan comes after the Belfast Telegraph revealed the city was set to get one of its biggest single office developments, capable of holding 3,000 staff, due to plans to redevelop the site of a cinema.

The massive 260,000sq ft development - which may be called One Bankmore Square - would be around 12-storeys in size and would see the Movie House cinema on the Dublin Road being redeveloped.

It's understood the existing building will be knocked down to make way for the top-end grade A office development.

The plans could also involve the redevelopment of the existing Bankmore Square area.

Belfast Telegraph