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Kainos could share new Belfast headquarters site with student accommodation development


An artist's impression of Kainos' previously larger proposed new headquarters on Dublin Road

An artist's impression of Kainos' previously larger proposed new headquarters on Dublin Road

Brendan Mooney of Kainos

Brendan Mooney of Kainos


An artist's impression of Kainos' previously larger proposed new headquarters on Dublin Road

A new flagship Belfast headquarters for Kainos could sit next door to a large student accommodation building amid fresh plans by the IT service giant, it can be revealed.

Kainos had wanted to develop a 250,000 sq ft 12-storey building at the former Movie House cinema cite on the Dublin Road. It has since said it is now planning a smaller scheme of around 110,000 sq ft.

But the firm is now planning to divide the site and use the smaller section for its offices while the larger area could be developed into 400-plus room student accommodation, another office building or apartments.

The site is currently being used a social enterprise food market, which is due to open to the public this month.

Kainos, alongside commercial property firm Lambert Smith Hampton, is seeking a developer to build its office, and also a developer to buy out the remaining larger section for a separate scheme.

Todd Architects have prepared indicative concept plans for a potential investor which include a student scheme of between 391 and 409 rooms, or alternatively office accommodation or residential apartments.

Last year Brendan Mooney confirmed that the company will soon submit its own planning application for an office complex of around half that size.

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He said the new development is expected to total around 110,000-115,000 sq ft. “Our expectation is that we don’t need a building of that size on the site,” he said.

On the site which will become the Kainos head office it says “the primary objective in providing this development opportunity is for Kainos to achieve a landmark headquarters office building on part of the site, while the remainder portion of the site to be developed out by the preferred developer for an appropriate use or uses.”

“This new landmark building represents an exciting opportunity for Kainos to promote a work
environment that will incubate new ideas for the business and faster collaboration among the work force,” it says.

A spokesman for Kainos said: “Kainos has submitted a development brief outlining plans for its future headquarters at Bankmore Square.

“The company has a requirement for office accommodation of approximately 100,000 sq ft to provide facilities for Kainos’ staff. In addition to inviting proposals for a single, dedicated office development, the development brief also invites proposals for shared use on the site.

“Kainos is aiming for development to be completed and to move into its new headquarters by mid-2026. In the meantime, the company has agreed to lease the former Bank of Ireland building situated next door to its current headquarters at Upper Crescent.

“Kainos is seeking planning permission to refurbish the building to create additional social and collaboration spaces, as it continues to enhance and adapt its offices to support hybrid working.

“Until the development of Bankmore starts, the site will be home to an ethical pop-up street food venture from the Belfast-based social entrepreneur, William Neill. ‘Trademarket’ is set to open for business in summer 2022, offering a place for the community to come together and playing host to the best of local food and independent retail vendors. The temporary lease also ensures the Bankmore Square site is utilised in a positive way now that Kainos have finalised its future office plans.”