Business

New £17m 'smart' apartments part of three developments planned for Belfast

The new £17m Portland 88 apartment complex is due for completion in December
Gareth McKeown

THE UK development firm behind a new Belfast apartment complex has said it could invest up to £50 million in the city's residential market.

Bristol-based Barnett Developments officially unveiled the first show apartment at the £17m Portland 88 on the Ormeau Road yesterday. Billed as Northern Ireland's 'smartest' homes, the seven-storey development is one of three projects the company plans to complete in the city.

Guil Nascimento, marketing manager at Barnett Developments told The Irish News the firm is currently in early discussions with planners over a second smaller development directly beside the Portland 88 complex, while they have looked at "quite a few" different sites in relation to the third, which could encompass over 200 apartments.

Originally arriving in Belfast three-years ago the company believes they have identified a gap in the market for city centre living.

"If you go into town in the evenings there are so many people and they all seem to drive home. There was a similar gap in the market in Bristol when we started and that's what we concentrated on. There's definitely a demand for this type of project," Mr Nascimento said.

If all three projects come to fruition total investment from Barnett could hit £50m in Belfast and further development in the years ahead has not been ruled out.

"If we feel that we've been successful here and there's enough demand and the prices haven't gone up too much, definitely we'd look at another (fourth) project and we wouldn't shy away from it," he added.

To date a third (Over £6m) of the Portland 88 complex, which features a mix of 74 two-bed, 10 one-bed and four three-bed apartments, has been sold and Ryan Dougan of managing agents, Colliers New Homes expects the remainder to be snapped up before the December opening.

"We would expect the remaining to sell out pretty much between now and completion," he said.

"The interest has been from all over, which is great to see for Belfast. We've had buyers from the US, the Middle East, Asia, down south, England, plus a huge amount of first-time buyers, which is what we wanted to see.

"The development is unlike anything else. I'm in developments every day, all day and from an attention to detail and specification point of view it has really went the extra mile."

"There's no question, once complete this will be Belfast's highest spec property," Mr Dougan added.

The new apartments at Portland 88 feature the latest in 'smart technology', allowing the owner to control heating and lighting, and other appliances, all from a smartphone, from anywhere in the world. The homes, which range in price from £165,000 to over £300,000, also feature an automated digital post box facility and come with their own Amazon Echo smart speaker.

The show home is open to interested buyers from 10am to 12pm every Saturday. For further information visit www.portland88.com.

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