Business

Tekky take-up boosts office market in first quarter says Lisney report

The most notable industrial transaction in the north in the first quarter of this year was the purchase of the former 800,000 sq ft Michelin factory in Ballymena by Silverwood Property Developments
Gary McDonald Business Editor

TAKE-up by technology, digital and media occupiers has dominated the office market in Northern Ireland in the first three months of this year, according to commercial property firm Lisney's latest quarterly report.

Companies in this sector accounted for 70 per cent of office take-up, equating to 190,000 sq ft of the quarter's record-breaking 270,300 sq ft take-up.

The investment market transacted just over £10 million over the quarter, with the largest deal being the sale of Meadowlane shopping centre in Magherafelt, though approximately £70m of investment opportunities are on the market at present including Longwood retail park and Kilroot business park.

Despite the retail market being plagued by poor trading reports, the north has enjoyed a steady flow of new retail openings and deals agreed in the first quarter, including B&M, The Range and Patisserie Valerie.

Industrial transactions totalled 1.139 million sq ft, with the most notable being the purchase of the former Michelin 800,000 sq ft factory by Silverwood Property Developments and the 295,000 sq ft Caterpillar factory in Monkstown which was sold to Co Tyrone manufacturing company CDE Group.

Lisney's managing director Declan Flynn said: “The emergence of the technology and digital sectors has been a hugely prominent factor in driving office take-up rates which is really positive for the Belfast market.

"Interestingly, we've already seen Republic of Ireland-based companies acquiring space in Belfast city centre and would anticipate more of the same as companies seek to offset the effects of Brexit."

Meanwhile it was confirmed yesterday that Seopa, the company behind leading price comparison websites CompareNI.com and QuoteZone.co.uk, has signed an agreement to lease more than 8,000 sq ft of grade A office space at one of Belfast's premier office developments Adelaide Exchange, where current occupants include Liberty IT, Genpact and Vela.

Lisa McAteer of joint letting agents CBRE said: “We're delighted that Seopa have decided to base their Belfast operation in Adelaide Exchange.

“CompareNI.com is an extremely popular and highly regarded comparison website in Northern Ireland, and Adelaide Exchange, with its high quality office space, excellent fibre optic connectivity and central location is perfectly suited for Seopa's Belfast operation.”

The other joint letting agent was Colliers International while Jago Bret from GVA NI acted for Seopa in the acquisition of the new office.

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