Belfast Telegraph

UTV's old headquarters to be transformed into student flats

Havelock House on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast. The former UTV building is to be turned into student flats
Havelock House on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast. The former UTV building is to be turned into student flats
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Havelock House, the former south Belfast home of broadcaster UTV, is set to become student housing after it was snapped up by a UK developer.

The distinctive building on the Ormeau Road had been on the market since April, priced at £3.5m.

It has been acquired by Olympian Homes, which has already finished one student accommodation block in the city.

In a tweet, the company announced it had exchanged contracts to buy the building and was progressing a planning application for a build-to-rent development.

However, it gave no further details about the deal and later removed the update.

Olympian Homes has built a 474-bedroom development of student housing at Great Patrick Street, close to the new Ulster University campus in the city.

It is also building a 774-room site at Nelson Street.

Havelock House had been listed for sale by estate agents Savills, which did not respond to a request for comment.

UTV moved out of the building in June after 60 years as a broadcasting studio.

Down the years it has welcomed stars from all over the globe, including Garth Brooks, Elton John and Sean Connery.

It has also kickstarted the careers of broadcasters like Eamonn Holmes and Gloria Hunniford.

Last year UTV revealed that it would relocate to City Quays 2 in Belfast Harbour Estate.

Its head of news and programmes, Terry Brennan, said at the time that the property listing was "another important milestone" in that office move.

"Havelock House has served us well for almost 60 years, but we are looking forward to moving to the eighth floor of City Quays 2," he added.

UTV, which was taken over by ITV plc in a £100m deal two years ago, had been at Havelock House since the broadcaster went live in October 1959. The first voice on air that day was Sir Laurence Olivier.

Programmes produced there The Kelly Show, School Around The Corner, Lesser Spotted Ulster, Counterpoint and Farming Ulster.

It was also used by television film crews around the world to process and edit film footage of the Troubles.

Before it was converted into a television studio, it was the site of a hemstitching warehouse.

During the Second World War, the building provided a billet for troops who were tasked with providing protection for the city's numerous bridges.

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