Kainos' move on Bankmore Square is pure Box Office

Gary McDonald Business Editor

BELFAST digital technology giant Kainos is to temporarily lease its Bankmore Square site to a social enterprise, which is proposing for a pop-up street food and independent retail market to open in September.

Box Office, a nod to the former Movie House and Dublin Road’s cinema history, will host a clutch of food and independent retail vendors in shipping containers, giving start-ups an opportunity in an otherwise prohibitive market.

And any rent received by Kainos will in turn be donated to charities supporting those in food poverty.

Kainos - which last year made a profit of £57 million and swelled its global workforce to more than 2,000 - says it remains committed to developing its new headquarters at Bankmore Square, with a three-year building project likely to commence in 2022.

But in the meantime it wants the site to be temporarily utilised in a positive way, so has handed it over to Will Neill, founder of the Box Office social enterprise, to host its ethical pop-up street food market.

Will said: “Belfast is such an exciting up-and-coming city, and having a space like this to showcase the very best of our start-up food and retail vendors will be fantastic for tourism and the local community. We owe Kainos our thanks.”

With an emphasis on sustainability, supporting small businesses and a commitment to ensuring a fair living wage is paid to all staff, the Box Office project aims to offer a place for the community to come together, promoting strong environmental and social unity messages.

While waiting for construction on its new headquarters to begin next year, Kainos says it will use the time to engage with its people and customers to develop a clearer understanding of its future office needs.

In the interim, it has refurbished its existing Upper Crescent office to provide a collaborative working space for those who wish to work in an office environment.

Kainos chief executive Brendan Mooney said: “It's important to us that while we are planning for our future, the site at Bankmore Square is temporarily utilised in a positive way, so we are delighted to support this initiative.

“It reflects our broader commitment to sustainability, ensuring we have a positive impact on the environment, society and in our local communities.”

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