Business

VR technology offers tours of £17m Belfast apartment block yet to be built

Colliers director David Menary watches on as marketing executive Laura Jones explores the new Portland 88 apartment block using VR software. Picture by Hugh Russell
Gareth McKeown

A BELFAST property agent is using virtual reality technology to let potential buyers tour an apartment complex yet to be built.

In what is believed to be a first for the north, Colliers NI is using pioneering VR technology to bring the new £17m Belfast development Portland 88 to life.

The new seven-storey building on the former car park site beside the UTV headquarters on the Ormeau Road will consist of 88 turnkey apartments and is due to completion in early 2019.

Colliers NI director David Menary said the technology has helped create "enormous interest" in the new apartment complex, located opposite Deloitte and the re-generated Gasworks site at Ormeau Business Park.

"In terms of Northern Ireland, it's a first," he said.

"We've got a lot of the millennials coming here to live and work with a lot of different companies and we can now email them the software and send them VR headsets so they can basically walk around the apartment.

"We have a specific apartment built and furnished with all the relevant CGIs so that they can now walk around and even change the colours of the kitchen, change the colours of the wall and change furniture. So they actually design it themselves which is unique.

"In the old days you would have come in, looked at plans and envisaged what it's like, but now it's very much different. You can now walk around it and have a look at it, you can almost touch it. And of course you can re-structure it, which we think is a very pioneering way to sell a Belfast building," he added.

Construction on the new apparent block, being developed by English company Barnett Developments, began last month, with the construction, being led by Co Down's Graham Construction scheduled for completion in early 2019.

A VR headset and five untethered Google cardboard viewers are available at Colliers NI offices at Talbot Street, while the software can also be sent to interest parties on request.

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