Belfast Telegraph

Citi snaps up office in central Belfast as expansion continues

By John Mulgrew

Financial services group Citi is expanding and taking over several floors of a former Danske Bank building in Belfast as it continues to grow its workforce in Northern Ireland.

The six-storey ex-bank building, which sits just across from Belfast City Hall, was sold for "comfortably" more than its £5.75m asking price at the beginning of the year.

The retail and office site in Donegall Square North had been on the market through commercial property agents Osborne King.

It is now understood that Citi, which employs more than 1,500 people in Belfast, is taking over at least two floors of the city centre building.

It is believed that the business services firm will use the new base for a variety of work, and it is expected to move staff to the new location .

Visit Belfast and the tourism Welcome Centre occupy the ground floor of the building.

Citi is also currently hiring staff across a range of areas.

That includes compliance, settlement analysts, data input and more senior posts in areas including management. The company did not wish to comment on the property deal.

Citi's main Belfast base is located at the Gateway Offices in the Titanic Quarter.

This summer, it was reported that the company could be eyeing up a major new office site in Belfast.

The business is currently spread across four sites here, including its base at the Gateway Offices.

According to reports from CoStar News, the US financial services company is looking at new options for its Northern Ireland-based operations.

That could include the consolidation of its four offices, which may mean the business searching for a new building with 250,000 sq ft of space.

In 2014, it announced it was creating 600 jobs here as part of a £54m investment.

At the time it said the new positions would boast average salaries of around £35,000.

Operating in the city for more than a decade, Citigroup grew its workforce from 900 people to around 1,400 after a jobs boost back in 2010.

Danske Bank has also put two floors of its main premises on Donegall Square West on the rental market.

Shortly before the EU referendum, Citi's UK chief, James Bardrick, contacted staff to outline the company's views on the vote for Brexit.

"We believe the UK's position as a global leader in many areas of financial services is in no small part aided by efficient and effective access to the EU's single market - the largest single market in the world, with 500 million citizens as potential customers and employees," he wrote.

"We believe access to the single market leads many other international companies, including many of Citi's major clients, to invest in the UK and base their regional or global headquarters here."

Citi is not the only services firm which has expanded here.

In May, Deloitte revealed it was set to create an extra 300 jobs in Belfast.

Most of the posts will be in the technology end of the company's work.

The expansion will make the city the business's largest UK base outside of London by 2020.

Belfast Telegraph