Belfast Telegraph

KFC tycoon selling apartment development plans for £3.95m

By John Mulgrew

KFC tycoon Michael Herbert is selling off his east Belfast luxury apartment development site and its plans for close to £4m, it can be revealed.

Mr Herbert's firm Kirk Bryson planned to develop a 104-bedroom apartment building at Knocknagoney Road.

Last year, he received the green light for the Parklands scheme.

Now, Osborne King is selling the land along with planning permission, as well as existing derelict buildings, for £3.95m.

The selling agents said they are expecting demand from the UK and Republic, and that the buyer could be a new entrant to the Northern Ireland market.

David McClure, director with Osborne King, said a buyer could be interested in turning the apartments into a so-called 'build-to-rent' development.

Build-to-rent apartments are rental only, with secure long-term tenancies from a landlord who retains ownership.

"We are expecting strong interest in it. At the moment, there are a couple of factors (which would interest a buyer)," Mr McClure said.

"The fact that it is ready to go, you have the green light for 104 units and someone can start straight away. We still have the same issues that we have with delays in our planning system.

"We are hoping to get some interest from the UK and the south, specialist operators, maybe dabbling in Northern Ireland for the first time.

"On the pricing, we have moved on a bit and would be looking at £110,000 to £115,000 for one-bedroom apartments and a couple of three bedroom penthouses at around £250,000."

He said the site was being sold with planning permission in a bid to attract a "specialist developer" for a "specialist scheme".

Mr McClure said he was hopeful the scheme would draw in interest around its asking price.

"It's priced to encourage interest and should work for people at that level," he said.

"We hope to get a few surprises... such as new entrants into the Northern Ireland market."

The site covers an area of 3.27 acres on the Knocknagoney Road in Belfast.

The east Belfast site sits around four miles from the city centre and is located across from Tesco Extra near Tillysburn.

And while permission has been granted for the 104-apartment building, the site includes a 45-apartment development, which sits derelict. The scheme could also grow, with the client having prepared drawings for a larger 132-apartment building.

Elsewhere, Kirk Bryson is planning a 53-home development at a vacant site in the Upper Newtownards Road area of east Belfast.

A 10-home development at a former Lidl store site on the outskirts of north Belfast, on the Antrim Road, is also in the pipeline for the firm.

Meanwhile, the sale of three of Mr Herbert's other properties along with Belfast's CastleCourt shopping centre made up £137m of major commercial sales in the last quarter.

Mr Herbert's Lesley Tower was sold for £8.6m, while his Lesley Exchange buildings were sold for £2.3m and £3m each, according to the latest commercial property report from CBRE for the last quarter.

In September, it was revealed Mr Herbert was taking on 27 new restaurants across the UK and Ireland, creating 100 jobs in Northern Ireland.

The new acquisition will see the Herbert Group operate 145 KFC outlets and it is expected that it will take over a further 20 of the fast food units in quarter one of 2018 in England.

Of the 100 new jobs created here, 80 will support the roll-out of a new home delivery service in Northern Ireland, which is currently being trialled at Boucher Road, Ballyhackamore and Yorkgate branches.

The other 20 new posts will be based at the group's head office in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph

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