A major new office building opens in Belfast today — with a pledge from PwC to bring its workforce back into the city centre.
PwC is moving into Merchant Square — its largest UK office outside London.
The professional services firm is the sole tenant of the 200,000 sq feet building on Wellington Place, which can accommodate 3,000 people. The nine-floor complex is Belfast’s biggest private sector office letting deal.
PWC said it is part of a commitment to strengthen its regional offices and support local talent and businesses.
Last month it announced a £40m investment in developing an Advanced Research and Engineering Centre in Merchant Square, creating up to 800 jobs over five years.
Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC UK, said: “We’re committed to playing a leading role in driving growth across the UK, helping to build a vibrant and sustainable economy. We see the commercial and societal benefits of basing our own operations across the country and Merchant Square is the latest in a number of offices we’ve opened in the last 18 months.
“In Belfast, we’re supporting the fast-growing technology sector by locating our £40m Advanced Research and Engineering Centre in Merchant Square. This places the city at the centre of our technology strategy and creates hundreds of world-class career opportunities.”
Mr Ellis added: "With its dedicated wellbeing space for our people, multiple spaces for collaboration and reconnecting with colleagues and an innovative application of technology to improve the experience of remote working — we believe Merchant Square addresses many of the questions about the role of the office.”
Spaces can be transformed from intimate meeting rooms for six people to large event areas for up to 150. Booths in the restaurant come with screens so teams can connect over lunch with people working remotely. Face and voice-tracking technology has been installed in enclosed meeting spaces to ensure that the hybrid-meeting experience continues to support all participants.
Kevin MacAllister, PwC’s regional market leader in Northern Ireland, said: “As we look towards the future, we’re fully aware of the significance of opening a city centre office. Our people are what makes us the leading professional services firm and we know they value having a place to come together and collaborate.
"As we support them to do this safely, we’re also supporting the economy by bringing our workforce back into the city centre and helping local business recover.”