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University appoints builders to finish £250 million campus

LAGAN Construction and Portuguese firm Somague have won a £150 million contract to complete the second phase Ulster University's new Belfast campus.

Work on the £250m 800,000 sq ft development started last year and is expected to finish in 2018.

Phase two will see two new blocks developed on York Street, directly opposite the existing campus.

The university's acting vice-chancellor Professor Alastair Adair the announcement "brings us a step closer to realising our plans to deliver a modern, first-class teaching and learning environment which the people of Northern Ireland deserve and can be truly proud of".

"By 2018, over 15,000 students and staff will bring the new campus to life, bringing much needed regeneration to this area of the city,' he said.

"Not only will the positive impact on higher education be felt for generations to come, but the impact on the economy, particularly in terms of the construction sector will be invaluable with over 5000 construction jobs supported during the project build and fit out period."

Lagan chief executive Colin Loughran said: "In a competitive market, Lagan Construction Group is delighted to have secured this project and to have forged a partnership with one of Europe's largest construction companies, Somague. This is a landmark build in a key part of the city and one which will shape both the community and the construction sector for years to come."

Rui Vieira de Sá, Somague president added: "This is our first partnership with a Northern Ireland construction company and we believe that this joint venture can deliver significant benefits to both Ulster University and the wider construction sector.

"We look forward to commencing what is an exciting large scale project for the people of Northern Ireland."

Newtownabbey-based McLaughlin & Harvey is building the first phase.

Last year, Ulster University announced that it had secured a £150m loan facility for the build.

That was offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) in its first direct investment into the north.

The University of Ulster's landmark new development will relocate most of the Jordanstown campus to Belfast city centre by 2018, creating 5,000 jobs in the process.

Aside from the £150m EIB cash injection, most of the remainder of the money is coming from the public purse.

* LANDMARK BUILD: Looking at plans for the new Ulster University campus are Professor Alastair Adair, Rui Vieira de Sa and Colin Loughran. Main, an artist's impression of the new campus

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