Business

Titanic Quarter distribution centre plan set to go ahead

A major new warehouse distribution facility will be the latest development by the investors behind the Titanic Quarter

A PLAN for a major new distribution centre in Belfast's Titanic Quarter can go ahead, city planning officials have signalled.

Titanic Quarter Ltd's proposal would see the demolition of the existing industrial building on the site next to Queens Road, replacing it with a modern and larger 100,000 sq ft facility.

Industry monitor Construction Information Services estimates the value of the project at just under £6 million.

Most of the new development (86,100 sq ft) will be dedicated to the new distribution warehouse, with another 7,000 sq ft set aside for a van storage centre.

In a report prepared for Belfast City Council's planning committee monthly meeting on Tuesday, 560 parking spaces will be provided on site. A total of 318 spaces will be specifically for delivery vans, with 161 set aside for drivers. Another 81 are earmarked for staff and visitors.

That report recommends approval for the project.

Titanic Quarter Ltd is a company set up to develop 161.5 acres within the Titanic Quarter ultimately owned by landlord Belfast Harbour Commissioners.

It is one of a group of companies that makes up Titanic Property Development Ltd.

The group has overseen around £425m of development projects to date, comprising around 1.5 million square feet. Its directors have valued the development land at £25.9m.

The latest major development includes Olympic House on Queens Road. Enabling works on the £26.5m office building began in June.

The most recent accounts for Titanic Property Development Ltd show it turned a pre-tax profit of £4.9m in the 12 months to December 31 2018, down on a pre-tax profit of £6.2m from 2017.

Titanic Property Development Ltd's ultimate controlling parties are the Entice Limited Partnership, owned by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond and Dockside Investments, which is owned by the family of Irish property developer Pat Doherty.

The report states that both parent parties have confirmed they will not seek repayment of £26.3m of existing loans for the foreseeable future.

Shareholder loans are subordinated to Danske Bank and Bottin Investments, which is also owned by Dermot Desmond. In 2017, Mr Desmond injected an additional £29m into the company.

The Titanic group of companies also refinanced £75m worth of loans with Danske bank the same year.

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