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Refinancing deal for new office block in Belfast

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The Merchant Square office development

The Merchant Square office development

The Merchant Square office development

The developer of the new Merchant Square office block in Belfast city centre has completed a refinancing of the building.

Danske Bank has funded the refinance of the Grade A development, which will be occupied by business advisory firm PwC.

Merchant Square was developed by Oakland Holdings, which footed the bill for the project with its own investment, and loans from Fairfield Real Estate and the NI Investment Fund.

Now the borrowing from the NI Investment Fund, which is managed by CBRE, has been paid off.

Will Church of CBRE Capital Advisors said: "We are delighted by the early repayment of the fund's first loan. Acceleration of this type of development in a market short of funding options is exactly what the Northern Ireland Investment Fund was created for. The ability for occupiers to see sites under development before committing to taking space is critical in completing the funding circle." PwC is to locate 3,000 jobs in Merchant Square.

Adam Dickson of Oakland Holdings said: "In spite of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and the difficult economic circumstances, we handed over Merchant Square at the end of June. This is the most significant speculative development ever undertaken in Belfast and has led to the largest private sector letting in the region at over £20 per sq ft."

The project involved replacing the old 1960s-style commercial buildings on the site at Wellington Square. Mr Dickson said it was "a lead project in the emergence of a new Belfast". He added: "The re-financing of the development means that we can look ahead to new and further expansions in Belfast and across these islands."

Belfast Telegraph