Northern Ireland

Go-ahead for major Belfast office development

An artist's impression of how the offices will look Image copyright Kilmona Group
Image caption An artist's impression of how the offices will look

A major development next to Central Station has been approved by Belfast city council's planning committee.

The Kilmona Group intends to build around 300,000 sq ft of office space, spread across four blocks.

Some residents in the adjacent Markets area have objected to the scheme, saying it will overshadow their homes and add to car parking problems.

The Kilmona Group owner, Paddy Kearney, told the council the scheme will represent an investment of over £50m.

Image caption The Kilmona Group intends to build around 300,000 sq ft of office space, spread across four blocks

He said the scheme is already on the shortlist of a potential occupier who requires 125,000 sq ft by early 2018.

It is understood that HM Revenue and Customs may be considering the development as they consolidate most of their Northern Ireland operations onto a single site.

The scheme will consist of a 14-storey block adjacent to the station, a 10-storey block fronting onto East Bridge Street and two three-storey blocks fronting onto Stewart Street.

Image copyright Kilmona Group
Image caption Members of the Markets Development Association said they objected to the scale of the development

Members of the Markets Development Association said they objected to the scale of the development.

Sinn Féin members on the planning committee voted against the scheme.

Image caption A model of the office blocks shows their scale

Stephen Blaney, the architect of the project from Coogan & Company, said the approval "sends a very positive message to the international investment community".

He added: "The design creates a new entry point for Belfast city centre and will be of a quality and size to attract the most demanding of international and domestic occupiers."

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