Belfast Telegraph

Clients being rewarded for confidence, says law firm Carson McDowell

Optimistic: Rosemary Carson
Optimistic: Rosemary Carson

By Stephanie Bell

The commercial property sector in Northern Ireland has reacted well to a challenging period of uncertainty with optimistic decision-making being rewarded, according to Northern Ireland's leading independent law firm Carson McDowell.

Rosemary Carson, partner and head of real estate at the firm, said that despite the Brexit vote taking the sector by surprise and the ongoing impasse at Stormont, her team has had a very busy and positive year and is optimistic that the market will remain stable.

Carson McDowell is pleased to play its part in acknowledging the ongoing achievements of the real estate sector by sponsoring the Commercial Development of the Year award at this year's Belfast Telegraph Property Awards.

Ms Carson said: "When our clients have acted with confidence it has been rewarded.

"As an example, the Belfast Harbour Commissioners' City Quays project is a benchmark for new office builds and underscores how Belfast was crying out for Grade A office space.

"The commissioners' success in securing so many blue chip tenants is not only a testimony to their vision but also the attractiveness of Belfast as a great place to do business."

She went on to describe the retail sector as also having been busy, albeit in a state of flux, as many large brands have reviewed their strategies in light of a shift in consumer habits.

The downsizing of B&Q and demise of BHS led to a glut of large units, but Ms Carson said they have been encouraged to see how quickly they have been taken up by new entrants such as The Range and EZ Living.

She added: "Leisure, food and beverage activity has been buoyant.

"We continue to support clients such as Greggs, McDonalds, Patisserie Valerie and JD Wetherspoon as they acquire new outlets and exciting new entrants such as the Revolution Bars Group with its fantastic renovation of the old Cafe Vaudeville.

"Having a dedicated licensing sub-team within our real estate department has been invaluable in growing our presence in this sector.

"While we are a Belfast-based firm we are by no means Belfast centric in our client base and our reach and experience extends to all corners of Northern Ireland."

Ms Carson added: "We have recently been involved in various regional developments such as Laganbank Retail Park in Lisburn and the acquisition of the Tesco Superstore in Newry and we are looking forward to new projects such as the redevelopment of the Royal Hotel in Bangor."