Northern Ireland

Property fund makes £20m loan to Belfast office block project

An artist's impression of the new office block at Wellington Place in Belfast Image copyright Oakland Group
Image caption An artist's impression of the new office block at Wellington Place in Belfast

A property fund agreed under the last Northern Ireland Executive has made its first loan.

A total of £20m is being advanced towards a new office block being built at Wellington Place in Belfast city centre.

The fund, which was launched last November, contains £100m for commercial property and regeneration projects.

The executive agreed the fund as part of the 2016-17 budget.

It makes loans to "viable projects that cannot source funding from traditional sources", like banks.

The office project, known as Merchant Square, is being undertaken by Oakland Limited and will cost £70m.

It will house up to 3,000 staff over nine floors.

Retail space will occupy the ground floor.

The project involves the redevelopment of two existing buildings, Oyster & Royston House.

The Department of Finance appointed commercial agents CBRE to manage the fund, overseen by "a scrutiny board."

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