SOFTWARE group Kainos has announced its new Belfast headquarters will now be an 85,000 sq ft development.
The tech firm originally planned to build a 250,000 sq ft complex on the site of the former Dublin Road Movie House cinema to consolidate its Belfast workforce.
But the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the group’s adoption of a flexible work policy for its staff, has resulted in a down-sized scheme.
The software firm announced a deal last year to sell part of the development site to Queen’s University for student accommodation.
Kainos has now confirmed the planning applications will be lodged in tandem.
The purpose-built, managed student accommodation will include 475 units.
Kainos will also seek planning permission 4,000 sq ft of space at street level for commercial uses.
- Kainos' incoming CEO planning for a subtle and seamless succession
- Kainos on course to raise profits by up to 15 per cent this year
- Kainos downsize plans for new Belfast office headquarters
Full planning applications are expected to be submitted to Belfast City Council in November.
The former cinema site is currently being used by Trademarket Belfast to house a series of pop-up street food and drink units.
Kainos currently employs around 3,000 people, including 1,100 in Northern Ireland. Its present headquarters is at Upper Crescent, close to Queen’s University.
The company previously said the new build office could cost in the region of £30 million.
Kainos bought the former cinema in 2019 for around £7m.
Last month, the London-listed software firm announced it remains on course to generate between £418m and £434m in revenue this year.
That's expected to produce an adjusted pre-tax profit of between £72.6m and £78.1m.
The redrafted plans for the Dublin Road site will see Kainos launch a new public consultation exercise later this month.
Those plans will go on display at the Clayton Hotel on Ormeau Avenue, on September 25 and September at 12 noon to 3pm and 5pm to 8pm on both days.
The consultation materials, images and plans for the project will eventually go online at bankmoresquare.com.
Russell Sloan, who will take over as Kainos’ new chief executive next week, said: “This new, contemporary development signals our continuing investment in Belfast.
“When complete, it will bring renewed character to both the Dublin Road and the Linen Quarter, and will provide significant benefits to businesses, organisations and services around us at Bankmore Square.
“At the heart of this investment are our people, and our desire to create an exceptional and sustainable workplace for our colleagues to connect and collaborate.
“Our new office will provide modern office space for up to 1,600 people, creating the capacity for our planned growth in the future.”
Caroline Young, vice-president of students and corporate services at Queen’s added: “Having a wide range of high quality, affordable and safe housing options, in close proximity to Queen’s, will ensure we can support the significant increase in demand for this type of student accommodation.
“With an expected 3,000 more rooms needed in Belfast by 2028 to meet growing demand, this site is an excellent development opportunity which will offer around 475 students new accommodation in a prime location in the heart of the city.
“It will help to transform the area, while making a significant contribution to the economy and we are excited by the prospect of working with Kainos as we develop this site.”