£70m Belfast office schemes receive planning green light

Planning permission has been granted for the first phase of the £400m redevelopment at the former Sirocco Works site
Gareth McKeown

TWO Belfast office schemes worth a combined £70 million have received the green light from planners.

The £50m first phase of the landmark Belfast waterside development at the former Sirocco site and the £20m 11-storey Graham House development on Albert Square were both approved at Tuesday night's Belfast City Council planning committee

Vanguard Real Estate submitted plans for the first phase of the £400m regeneration of Belfast waterside in February and the 250,000 sq ft Grade A office scheme will bring an initial £50m investment and deliver the first major employment activity at the former Howden Sirocco site in almost 20 years, accommodating up to 2,500 employees.

A 13-storey office accommodation building, including a retail unit on the ground floor alongside café and restaurant units, will be the first step in creating modern workspace for 11.5 per cent of the 46,000 new jobs that Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035.

It is hoped the regeneration project at the 16-acre site could create as many as 5,500 jobs, 750 homes and almost 850,000 sq ft of contemporary office space.

Chairman of the council's planning committee, Matt Garrett said the planning approval will act as a "catalyst for the regeneration of the wider Sirocco site".

“The approach to the building's design and landscaping has taken its cues from the Giant's Causeway, and it's exactly the type of high quality environment that we're encouraging local and global investors to develop in Belfast."

Head of agency at Lambert Smith Hampton in Belfast, Stuart Draffin hailed the approval as "great news for Belfast and Northern Ireland".

"We are excited about the redevelopment of such an iconic city centre site capable of accommodating up to 850,000 sq ft of office accommodation and 750 homes. The Vanguard team have a proven global track record in delivering challenging large scale tailored property solutions on time and within budget for a wide range of occupiers."

Paris-based developer Stargime also received planning approval to build a £20 million 11-storey office building, ‘Graham House', with a ground floor restaurant/café on Albert Square, with access from Tomb Street.

The planning committee further granted approval for a ‘Changing Places' (CP) facility on the ground floor of Belfast City Hall as well as a new visitor centre for Belfast City Cemetery.

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