Business

Brexit 'likely to hamper Titanic Quarter growth' development company warns

Titanic Belfast is the flagship project of the Titanic Quarter

THE company charged with developing the Titanic Quarter has said its efforts may be hampered by the decision of UK voters to leave the European Union.

Titanic Island Limited said the result of the referendum was "likely to lead to a period of uncertainty in financial markets and in the economic climate generally and may adversely affect the group's trading prospects in the short to medium term".

The comments were made by directors as they reported losses of £333,111 for 2015.

They said the loss, "principally reflects the lack of progress on new projects and the challenging market conditions which pertain".

The company said highlights of the year included the completion of the Titanic Exhibition Centre while leases were also completed for a hotel in the former Titanic drawing offices.

The Titanic Quarter was launched in 2005 which has seen around £350 million invested over 10 years.

Major projects have included the Titanic Studios, ARC apartment block, Belfast Metropolitan College and Titanic Belfast exhibition centre.

However less than 20 per cent of the more than 160 acre site has been completed (although 1.3m sq ft of space has been master planned).

Titanic Island said potential projects includes the development of a financial services centre at Olympic House and hotels at Hamilton Dock and Platers Yard.

But it said its "current difficulties advancing new projects with the agreement of Belfast Harbour under the TQMA (Titanic Quarter Master Agreement) represents the most significant impediment to the group's future success".

A memorandum of understanding on future developments between subsidiary Titanic Quarter Ltd and the Belfast Harbour - which ultimately owns the land - was reached in May following legal proceedings brought by the harbour.

Titanic Island's report added: "The directors hope that this will result in the progress on new projects including Olympic House and hotel developments"

The company's losses were incurred on turnover just shy of £11m.

Directors said the group's development land was valued at £20.36m making its total stock value £44.3m (against £46.9m in 2014).

It said the valuation was arrived at taking into account "the uncertainty in the local property market, the ongoing lack of availability of bank finance for property development, the ability transact with Belfast Harbour under the TQMA and Belfast Harbour's competing interests in City Quays".

Separate accounts for Titanic Quarter Ltd showed losses of more than £1.1m making accumulated losses £51.2m.

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