Two new Belfast developments to supplement Grade A office stock in city centre

Pictured at the official launch event of Artola House are: Jonas Mallard, director of Stargime Group; Suzanne Wylie, chief executive, Belfast City Council; and Rory McConnell, director, McConnell Chartered Surveyors
Gareth McKeown

TWO new Belfast developments are set to add 125,000 sq ft of much needed Grade A office space in the city centre.

Artola House on Victoria Street was officially launched yesterday following major renovation and refurbishment works. The 20,000 sq ft building, which traces its origins back to the 1870s, originally served as a linen warehouse, before being re-imagined as high-quality Grade A office space.

French developer, Stargime Group acquired the building in 2014 and is behind the transformation.

Jonas Mallard, Stargime director said: “Working with Like Architects, we thoughtfully and carefully re-imagined Artola House, whilst ensuring to retain its stunning original features.

“As well as the extensive upscaling of the building's interior, a new east-facing elevation has been added along with many other key additions, making the building one of the most attractive Grade A properties currently on offer in the city.”

The development on Victoria Street follows news earlier this week that the 105,000 sq ft Erskine House on Chichester Street is nearing completion.

Co Down based Graham Group celebrated the topping out of the £17m office block on Tuesday, with the final building structure due for completion in March. Internal fit-out will then commence on site, which will also be completed by Graham.

Last year The Irish News revealed that HM Revenue and Customs will be taking 104,220 sq ft of office space at Erskine House after agreeing a 25-year lease with Orby Investment Ltd. The eight-storey building will eventually accommodate around 1,600 full-time equivalent employees, the first of whom are expected to move in from late 2019.

Sinead Murray, HMRC's senior sponsor for Belfast Regional Centre added:

“The topping out ceremony marks a significant milestone for our regional centre in Belfast and HMRC's transformation into a modern, digitally advanced tax authority. We are creating a contemporary, collaborative workspace for our employees, including state of the art facilities and, when completed, the Erskine House development will be a great place to work.”

Meanwhile Belfast's first build to rent residential scheme has been given the green light by city planners.

The £15m Academy Street development, brought forward by joint venture Lacuna Watkin Jones was approved at Tuesday evening's Belfast city council planning committee meeting.

The model, popular in other cities in the UK, sees apartments purpose-built for rental only, with ownership retained by the building owner. A management company then provides additional services such as 24/7 security, communal space and cafes for long-term tenancies.

The residential building comprises 90 one and two bed apartments.

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