Construction on £30 million Olympic House to begin this year

Construction on the £30 million Olympic House office development in the Cathedral Quarter is due to begin later this year. A design of what the new development might look like
Gareth McKeown

THE group in charge of re-developing Belfast's iconic Titanic Quarter has confirmed construction will begin later this year on the new £30 million office development Olympic House.

Titanic Island Limited has confirmed work on the 148,000 sq foot building is anticipated to begin in "late 2017".

A joint venture with the Belfast Harbour Commissioners the major project represents an investment of roughly £30 million and adds to the existing developments being undertaken by the group.

The Titanic Hotel, Belfast's newest £28 million boutique hotel, is due to open this September in the former Harland & Wolff headquarters building and Drawing Offices.

The 119-bed offering is one of a number of further hotels planned by Titanic Island for the area, which is part of the group's strategy to strengthen Belfast's business, conferencing, leisure and heritage tourism offering.

To that end a hotel development site at Hamilton Dock in Titanic Quarter was offered for sale on the open market earlier this year. Outline and full planning permission was previously granted in 2010 for a 244-bedroom hotel at the site, but the latter expired in 2015, with no works ever taking place.

In an update Titanic Island said proposals from hotel developers are "currently being evaluated".

The site has previously been earmarked as a significant opportunity for hotel developers to create a "flagship hotel" in the the heart of Titanic Quarter.

Construction of a waterfront walkway linking the Titanic and Olympic Slipways and HMS Caroline is also under way and due for completion in late 2017, according to the Titanic group.

An update on the work being carried out by Titanic Island was revealed as the group's annual accounts were published for the year ending December 31 last.

Group revenue from property sales and rental income stands at £10.5 million for 2016, slightly down on the previous year (£11 million), while gross profit rose from £8 million to £8.5 million over the 12 months.

Post year-end, the group has also successfully completed a refinancing, satisfying its existing indebtedness to Burlington Loan Management in full.

The refinancing provides the group with what it says is "a solid financial platform" on which to continue the regeneration of Titanic Quarter through further development and land sales.

To date 26 acres of a total of 185 acres available have been developed.

Newly appointed executive chairman of Titanic Island Nick Reid said the group was committed to progressing further development in the area.

“This will include further commercial, hotel, residential, leisure and tourism projects enhancing what is already a highly successful mixed use development and a key component of Belfast's on-going regeneration and reinvention," he said.

"The group and its shareholders are committed to progressing further development in Titanic Quarter in the near term. Once complete these developments will further contribute to the positive impact of Titanic Quarter on the local economy and on the infrastructure of Northern Ireland.”

To date £425 million has been invested in development of the Titanic Quarter and 5,950 are in permanent employment.

The area attracts roughly one million visitors a year and is a base for over 100 national and international organisations including Citi, Microsoft, IBM and HBO.

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