McLaughlin & Harvey wins deal to fit out new UTV headquarters
Northern Ireland construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey has won the contract to fit out UTV's new offices and studio at Belfast Harbour.
UK broadcasting giant ITV -which bought UTV last year - said the new offices at City Quays 2 were a "multi-million pound investment".
Next year UTV will vacate its Havelock House premises on the Ormeau Road after nearly 60 years as it makes the move - first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph in February.
McLaughlin & Harvey, based in Mallusk, will be fitting out the eighth floor of City Quays 2 with a high-definition studio, editing technology and offices.
Contract manager Ivan Hutchinson said: "This is a really exciting project for us and the first with UTV.
"McLaughlin & Harvey pride themselves on delivering high quality fit-outs and have over 160 years' experience."
Terry Brennan, head of news and programmes at UTV, said the announcement "marks a major milestone in our plans".
"We are delighted to have got to this stage with such a well-established local company as McLaughlin & Harvey," he said.
"We are looking forward to them being on-site from the end of August and, by the summer of 2018, UTV will be broadcasting from one of the most modern news centres in Europe."
Last month McLaughlin & Harvey announced it had acquired an office furniture company in a major deal.
The Mallusk firm said the purchase of School and Office Supplies Group (SOS Group) in Belfast for an undisclosed sum would bolster its specialist joinery division.
And the company said it would also enable it to offer clients an 'end-to-end' construction service.
Group company McLaughlin & Harvey Holdings declared pre-tax profits of £5.5m on sales of £427.1m for 2016. It was set up as a group company last year and reported pre-tax profits of £1.3m in the three months to the end of December 2015.
ITV acquired the TV assets of UTV Media plc in a deal which completed in February last year. The package also included Dublin-based broadcaster UTV Ireland. However, ITV later sold UTV Ireland to Virgin Media, which also owns TV3. In January this year Virgin Media rebranded UTV Ireland as be3, a female-oriented channel.
This month it emerged that Belfast radio station U105 will join its former sister broadcaster UTV at the new City Quays 2 premises, but on a different floor.
The radio station, home to presenters such as Frank Mitchell, Johnny Hero and Carolyn Stewart, also leaves Havelock House next year. U105 has been part of UK media giant News UK since late last year after it was sold on, along with the six stations in the Republic also making up the Wireless Group.
Both the TV channel and the radio stations had been part of UTV Media plc before the group was broken up with UTV's disposal.
From left: Jacqui Bradley of ITV with Rhianna Jordan and Ivan Hutchinson of M&H and Alan Mackey of UTV