Belfast Telegraph

Student accommodation firm buys Belfast city centre site

By John Mulgrew

A company behind several student accommodation projects in Belfast has bought a former city centre office building for an undisclosed sum.

The property between Academy Street and Exchange Street will now be redeveloped in a joint venture between Lacuna Developments and Welsh property firm Watkin Jones.

The firms say the site - which includes a car park - is a blank canvas.

Neither would say what the newly acquired site will be used for in the future.

Lacuna and Watkin Jones are behind several student developments in the city.

They include the 317-bedroom Swanston Hall on the corner of Queen Street (the former Athletic Stores building).

And work has begun on a 156-bedroom student building on Dublin Road.

Anthony Best, managing director of Lacuna Developments, said: "Lacuna is delighted to have acquired its fourth major development site in Belfast alongside our joint-venture partner, Watkins Jones.

"The joint venture has now committed to over £85m worth of end development in Belfast since February 2015.

"This latest site acquisition shows our commitment to Belfast. We look forward to working again with Belfast City Council to deliver this end development."

David Wright, director, of commercial property firm CBRE, which sold the property, said: "The sale presents a great opportunity for Belfast in terms of the city's ongoing regeneration.

"The Cathedral Quarter has been benefiting from the increase in hospitality and tourism.

"Furthermore, it is currently one of the most popular and sought-after areas in Belfast city centre."

Belfast Telegraph