An artist's impression of the £20 million finanical hub in Belfast's Titanic Quarter

An artist’s impression of the £20 million finanical hub in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter

BUSINNESS chiefs have submitted plans for a £20 million office development.

The 190,000 sq ft area in the Titanic Quarter is the biggest office development in Belfast for over six years.

The site, beside Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Quarter campus, is currently empty after initial development plans for the area were put on hold in 2008.

No tenants are signed up, but if plans are approved, there are plans to complete construction by 2015.

The development company behind Titanic Quarter is hoping the new offices will be filled by firms providing hi-tech support to the financial services industry.

David Gavaghan, Titanic Quarter’s CEO, said: “As we see the first tangible signs that we are moving out of one of the longest economic recessions in the last century, it is time to ensure that Belfast can continue to offer potential investors flexible, modern, high-end business accommodation.”

“Titanic Quarter is confident that this new development will fill a clear gap in the market, enabling Belfast to meet the requirements of the global knowledge economy, as well as offering indigenous firms the opportunity to expand in a dynamic area which is already home to over 100 successful and innovative businesses.”

Around 4,000 people currently work in the Titanic Quarter.

David Wright, a director at commercial property agents CBRE, said the application was “a vote of confidence in Belfast”.

“Whether for offices or industrial accommodation, there have not been any major planning applications in five or six years – nothing has been built. But this is a sign that people are starting to get geared up for the next cycle.

“It’s also positive that somebody is targeting 2015 as a launch date as we are running out very, very quickly of good quality office accommodation.

“If another Allen & Overy or Chicago Mercantile Exchange was to come, it would be a struggle to get them the type of property they need. Much of the office accommodation which is available now is in the secondary market, which is not what they want as it doesn’t meet modern standards.”

Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton said the agency had secured around 2,800 foreign direct investment jobs in the most recent financial year, making Northern Ireland one of the most successful regions in the UK for inward investment.

“Being able to select from a wide range of property solutions is a key factor for potential investors and I am pleased that Titanic Quarter is planning to enhance Belfast’s property mix.”

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