Belfast Telegraph

Up-for-sale Belfast office block will 'command best rents in city'


The Metro on Donegall Square South
The Metro on Donegall Square South
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

The home of daily newspaper the News Letter has gone on the market for £21m. The Metro Building, on Donegall Square South, is described by selling agents Lisney and Osborne King as a "landmark Grade A city centre office building".

Developed in 2003, the Metro is also home to tenants including Capita, Yell and selling agents Osborne King.

It fetches an average rent of £1.3m per year and averages nearly £17 per sq ft on the upper floor offices.

The building covers 70,00sq ft and is on the market and seeking offers over £21m.

It also benefits from two levels of underground car parking to accommodate 50 cars.

Nicky Finnieston, investment director at Lisney, said the sale represents a "significant opportunity" given the demand and growth in the office rental market here.

"The quality and location of The Metro Building on the prestigious Donegall Square South is an opportunity to exploit rental growth and should command the best rents in the city," he said.

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"The Belfast office market has seen prime rents move from £15 per sq ft to £21.50 over recent years and there are a number of office schemes planned where quoting rents will be upwards of £23.

"Therefore, with average rents in the building at £17 per sq ft, the purchaser of The Metro Building will likely exploit its considerable reversionary potential."

Paul Henry, director of Osborne King, added: "Recent sales have demonstrated a depth of demand for Belfast offices, not only from local investors but from property companies and international investment funds.

"We would therefore expect to see some competitive tension around the sale of The Metro Building as arguably one of Belfast's best assets."

Facing Belfast City Hall and with adjacent buildings including the Northern Ireland headquarters of Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank and Ulster Bank, The Metro Building is located at the heart of Belfast office space.

The current site was reportedly built at the cost of £8.2m in 2002 and was completed two years later.

The nine-storey building is the latest major investment property to hit the market here after US fund Marathon Asset Management put offices at the Obel occupied by law firm Allen & Overy on the market earlier this month for £15m. Marathon bought the entire Obel site four years ago for around £20m.

The offices are close to Belfast Harbour and are also home to Lagan Boat Company and Mount Charles Group, operator of coffee shop Fed & Watered on the ground floor.

Belfast Telegraph