City faces office shortage within 18 months, warns property expert
Belfast is running out of top-notch office accommodation, a commercial property consultant has said.
David Wright of CB Richard Ellis said there was a "severe shortage" of so-called 'grade A' office accommodation in the city - offices which had been built in the last four to five years which would attract big-name companies setting up for the first time.
The firm said the needs of law firm Allen -amp; Overy, which is opening a back office in Belfast, and finance company Citi Group, which is expanding its operations in the city, would take 90,000 sq ft of 400,000 sq ft of high quality space in sought-after locations.
Mr Wright said CBRE was aware of another 250,000 sq ft which was likely to be swallowed by other companies in the short-term - meaning the city could run out of new office buildings in the next 18 months.
He said nearly 2.7m square feet of office accommodation was either in the planning process or had been given planning permission but were yet to see the start of building.
"Many of the schemes that have achieved planning permission are unlikely to be developed, certainly not in the short to medium term, due to funding difficulties.
"In the meantime, we are approaching a point where Belfast is likely to run out of Grade A office buildings - at a time when cheaper occupation costs and lower wage rates are attracting international occupiers."