Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Telegraph Property Awards: Sponsor Tughans continues to prosper

David Jones (third from left) with his team at Tughans, (from left) Rebecca Moffett, Tim Kinney, Maria O’Loan, James Pringle and Joe Moore
David Jones (third from left) with his team at Tughans, (from left) Rebecca Moffett, Tim Kinney, Maria O’Loan, James Pringle and Joe Moore

By Stephanie Bell

Take a quick look across Belfast's burgeoning skyline and you will spot a major piece of the city's real estate that Tughans has been at the heart of.

The company is pleased to be sponsoring the Residential Development of the Year category in the 2019 Belfast Telegraph Property Awards, which is being run in partnership with Electric Ireland.

Tughans boasts the largest specialist commercial property team in Northern Ireland - something which has helped keep the firm in the number one spot four years in a row on the Experian deal table.

Led by David Jones - a dual-qualified solicitor who works across England, Wales and Northern Ireland for a variety of institutional, local and multi-national clients - the real estate team is responsible for everything across the commercial property spectrum, including investment, commercial and residential development, and landlord and tenant work in all sectors.

In addition to David Jones, the team includes partners Joe Moore, who also specialises in licensing, and Rebecca Moffett, a dual-qualified solicitor heavily involved in the retail market. James Pringle, also a specialist in energy such as wind and solar, and veteran real estate lawyer, now turned consultant, Phyllis Agnew make up the senior team driving Tughans Real Estate forward. In addition, the team is supported by specialist environmental and planning consultant Maria O'Loan, construction partner Tim Kinney and large banking, property finance, construction and litigation teams.

It has been a changing landscape for residential developments with an influx of major fund investment from outside Northern Ireland, particularly in areas such as student accommodation, leading into build-to-rent schemes in Belfast.

"You can see the large number of cranes across the Belfast skyline, where developers and funds are prepared to invest," Mr Pringle said.

That includes numerous major student housing developments - including several now under construction, with Tughans having been involved in 90% of them.

Aside from the development of student accommodation, build-to-rent is another area which Tughans believes the city is going to see a lot more of in the near future.

It is something which Belfast lags behind in, when compared to cities elsewhere in the UK - with a greater move towards 'city living', something which David Jones has significant experience of in England, including highly complex forward-funding deals.

However, David said that he and members of his real estate team often play their part in selling Belfast and Northern Ireland to potential inward investors and foreign businesses.

He added: "We've seen an increasing number of international investors and foreign businesses coming into the residential market and I think there's no doubt that we'll see more. As Dublin hits saturation point in terms of available residential accommodation for staff working in its big commercial centres, Belfast should stand to gain. The fact that Google had to step in and buy an apartment development for its staff says it all."

He added: "We are seeing an increasingly joined-up approach from Invest NI, the local authorities, the universities and the private sector. The obvious gap in all of this, of course, is the lack of devolved government at Stormont. But, all in all, we've been doing well to get a coherent message out there, even against the headwinds of Brexit and the lack of a local administration."

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