Belfast Telegraph

New multi-million pound office and retail building planned for Belfast

By John Mulgrew

Belfast will get another huge multimillion-pound office and retail building, capable of housing 1,000 staff, if fresh proposals are given the green light.

Plans are now under way to turn a city centre car park and 1980s building into a 100,000 sq ft mixed-use development.

Orby Investment, which is headed by David and Andrew Calvert, wants permission to knock down the building at Chichester Street and construct the new eight-storey office development in its place.

It will also feature retail space on the ground floor.

Design plans show what the new modern, glass-clad office building could look like.

A spokesman for Orby Investment, the developer behind the scheme, told the Belfast Telegraph: "We are delighted to be bringing plans forward for the development of the site to provide over 100,000 sq ft of office accommodation, with a further 10,000 sq ft of accommodation for high-end retail on the ground floor.

"It will also bring standards of office accommodation never before seen in Belfast that will make it the most attractive and sought-after office address in Belfast, and which we hope will bring investment and growth to the city."

A previous application for a similar scheme was awarded planning permission back in 2011, but has since lapsed.

The new office building is being designed by Belfast-based Todd Architects.

Those behind the scheme have said "there is presently a severe lack of grade A office accommodation in Belfast city centre and an identified need from a number of foreign direct investors".

They added that the 100,000 sq ft development would "go some distance to meeting these requirements" and "could accommodate some 1,000-plus employees".

"In addition to providing this level of new employment, further significant added economic benefit will be brought to surrounding cafes, restaurants and retailers," they explained.

Todd Architects said in a design statement that lower than expected rent rates had "limited the availability of new developments coming forward in the city centre".

There are a number of major office and retail developments under way for Belfast.

They include the £360m Royal Exchange project, with updated plans being submitted this month.

Developer Paddy Kearney is also planning a series of huge buildings across the city over the next few years - including the £55m Lanyon Central project.

Belfast Telegraph