Grant Thornton makes its move into Danske Bank Belfast headquarters
Businesses advisory firm Grant Thornton has completed its move into the headquarters of Danske Bank in Belfast city centre in a seven-figure investment.
The practice, which employs around 100 people in Belfast and is a competitor of the Big Four accountancy firms, said the move would be followed by major expansion in the new year.
Danske Bank last year announced it was letting out the third floor of its listed headquarters at Donegall Square West, part of a bid to raise funds amid a low interest rate environment for the sector.
Grant Thornton managing partner Richard Gillan said it had worked better for the firm to repurpose existing space into Grade A accommodation rather than wait for new offices to be built here. Grant Thornton in Dublin is constructing a new office building.
Mr Gillan said: "The move from Clarence Street West may be a relatively short one geographically, but, symbolically, it is huge. Moving to such an iconic, city centre landmark reflects our confidence in the future, and will provide a fitting and professional environment that will help facilitate our continued expansion. Our Belfast office has enjoyed exponential growth across all business streams, with our workforce doubli ng and our revenues almost trebling in the last three years.
"That growth is set to accelerate in 2018, and we look forward to setting out details of our expansion plans soon."
Grant Thornton's new office was designed by Todd Architects, with the interior fit-out carried out by Co Down construction and fit-out giant, Graham.
Mr Gillan said he hoped the move to new offices would help its search for talent. "We have a particular culture here which is really important to us," he said. "We focus more on culture than any of the other firms I have worked in."
He said the firm had seen little impact from Brexit but added: "I think probably in terms of inward investment, that's probably slowed down a bit, but the majority of local firms are just getting on with things."
Grant Thornton's clients include major Northern Ireland companies like Ballyvesey Holdings - parent company of Montgomery Transport - and property firm Wirefox, which recently acquired Belfast's CastleCourt Shopping Centre for £123m.
The move into new offices follows rival PwC's decision to close its last remaining office outside Belfast. Its centre of excellence in Dungannon will shut next year.