UTV headquarters Havelock House on the market for £3.5m
THE Belfast home of UTV for almost 60 years is on the market for £3.5 million.
Havelock House on the Ormeau Road had been the headquarters of the broadcaster since it first went on the air in 1959, but is now vacant as UTV, owned by ITV plc, is moving to new premises at City Quays 2 in the Belfast Harbour Estate.
The north's largest commercial television broadcaster announced last year it will lease 11,399 sq ft on the top floor of the new office building, which extends to 124,000 sq ft over nine floors.
The 1.78 acre site home to Havelock House comprises a 59,000 sq ft office and production site as well as a car park. Steeped in history, before being converted into a television studio complex it was the former site of a hemstitching warehouse and during World War II the building was the billet for troops to provide cover for Belfast's bridges.
Ulster Television acquired the premises for £17,000 and initially the building contained one studio, with a second opening in 1962. Construction of an extension to Havelock House began in 1992 in preparation for the station's new franchise period and its rebranding as UTV. The extension was opened by former UTV newsreader Gloria Hunniford in June 1993.
UTV’s head of news and programmes, Terry Brennan said the announcement marks another important milestone in the broadcaster's office move project.
"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. As well as the breath taking views, our new location will be home to a modern broadcasting centre, with an HD studio; the latest in editing technology; and corporate offices, with administration, finance and sales areas to accommodate all UTV staff.”
Simon McEvoy, divisional director at Savills Northern Ireland, who are handling the sale, expects strong interest in the site.
“Given its prominent location, we expect a high level of demand from an array of local and international investors and developers for Havelock House. There are a number of opportunities for an eventual buyer to realise the potential of this site, including the development of residential or office accommodation, or indeed the refurbishment of the existing structure.”