Boost for Belfast city centre as Deloitte to set up in new £85m Bedford Square

Deloitte has selected McAleer & Rushe’s new development on Bedford Street as the location for its Northern Ireland head office 
Gareth McKeown

BELFAST city centre has received a major vote of confidence after another big four accounting firm confirmed details of a new multi-million pound office move.

Deloitte revealed yesterday it has selected McAleer & Rushe’s new development on Bedford Street as the location for its Northern Ireland head office.

The £85 million Bedford Square scheme, which is centred around the regeneration and refurbishment of the Ewart Building, is set to house 1,000 staff by 2022 and will be Deloitte’s largest UK office by headcount outside of London.

The global services giant is taking 100,000 sq ft of office space and will become the anchor tenant in Bedford Square, located across the street from the firm's existing office on Bedford Street and half a mile from its technology studio in The Gasworks.

Staff in both offices will move to the new building once construction work is complete.

The new Belfast office will accommodate all of Deloitte’s core business areas, including audit, tax and consulting and will also see a new state-of-the-art Deloitte digital and greenhouse space created in the Ewart building.

Jackie Henry, senior partner at Deloitte in Belfast said the new office demonstrates the firm's commitment to Northern Ireland.

“This new office will bring Deloitte’s expertise in Belfast together under one roof, which will foster even greater collaboration between teams and enable us to create a campus environment that is ideally suited to the agile and augmented jobs of the future," she said.

“This significant investment reflects our confidence in Belfast and its high-quality talent base. Based on our current growth projections we expect to have 1,000 staff in Belfast by 2022, with over 400 of these new roles supported by the Department for the Economy through Assured Skills and Higher Level Apprenticeships. Given that growth trajectory we have also made sure we have the option to increase the space to accommodate up to 1,250," she added.

Bedford Square is a 213,000 sq ft Grade A office development being delivered by McAleer & Rushe, which is set to accommodate over 2,000 staff upon completion.

McAleer & Rushe property director, Stephen Surphlis said the new Deloitte Belfast base will provide an economic boost to the city centre.

“Securing Deloitte’s commitment is a significant milestone in the delivery of this strategic development which will bring further economic activity to the heart of the city and surrounding local businesses," Mr Surplis said.

"We have already commenced works and upon completion the building will provide much needed grade A office accommodation for international and indigenous companies within Belfast’s prime office district."

The commitment from Deloitte comes just two months after PwC announced it is moving 2,000 Belfast staff to the new £70m Merchant Square office development.

The business advice firm is moving from its existing base at Waterfront Plaza to become the anchor tenant in the new scheme being developed by Oakland Holdings, located at the junction of Wellington Place and Upper Queen Street. The relocation to the city centre is set to take place in the summer of 2020.

The movement of two of Belfast's biggest employers to the city centre should provide a welcome boost to footfall in the city centre, which has suffered in recent times as a result of the Primark fire and the growing popularity of online shopping.

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