Belfast Telegraph

Plans unveiled for phase one of £400m Belfast Waterside project at city's Sirocco Works

By Andrew Madden

Detailed plans for the first phase of the £400m regeneration of Belfast Waterside, the site of the former Sirocco Works, have been submitted to Belfast City Council.

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The first phase of the development, costing £50m, will see the creation 250,000 sq ft of grade A office space at the site, which is based close to the Short Strand.

The plans were submitted by Vanguard Real Estate, the development arm of Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd, a joint venture between the Corbally Group, Graftongate and Gulf Resources Development and Investment (GRDI)

The £400m masterplan for the overall project is designed by Danish architects Henning Larsen and is a mix of residential and office spaces, alongside food and retail outlets.

A pedestrian and cycle bridge, as well as community and cultural facilities, are also included in the plans.

And developers claim the project could create up to 5,000 jobs once completed.

Jim Osborne, director of Vanguard Real Estate, said they hope the new office space will attract "premium corporate occupiers".

"We are seeking to set a new benchmark for office space suitable for premium corporate occupiers," he said. 

"Recent reporting has indicated Northern Ireland continues to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) occupiers but an ongoing lack of quality supply is holding back office rental growth; recent analysis from CBRE outlines that Grade A office space remains in high demand from FDI and local companies.

"We engaged with several prominent office requirements at the earliest opportunity as part of our innovative approach to providing frictionless solutions for tenants and talks are progressing well."

According to last year's 'Belfast Agenda' plan, the council hopes to create 46,000 new jobs by 2035.

Belfast Waterside planners hope the new office accommodation will provide workspace for 11.5% of these jobs.

Earlier this week, three Belfast city centre office buildings went on the market for more than £5m in total. Construction is also currently under way for another 40,000 sq ft grade A office building at Weaver's Court.

Mr Osborne said that more plans will be unveiled in the coming months.

"The residential and co-working elements of the scheme will be brought forward in the coming months, together with proposals for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge," he said. "Once completed, the £400m investment will reconnect this important city centre site to the rest of the city, and provide 1.7 million sq ft of mixed use development.

"A pre-application notification for residential development and co-working space - a new concept for Belfast - will soon be submitted to Belfast City Council as part of our wider plans to develop the rest of the site."

Vanguard will be showcasing the project at Cannes next month as part the Belfast delegation to the MIPIM property conference.

Belfast Telegraph