Northern Ireland

Belfast city centre: Construction 'positive' and 'healthy'

Cranes

Construction activity in Belfast city centre remains "positive" following a healthy 2018, according to a new report on big building projects.

Thirty-five schemes were reported as being either completed or started, a 17% increase on the previous year.

They mostly fell into the categories of hotels (11) and offices (10).

The report, carried out by professional services firm Deloitte, also found no residential projects were started in the city centre.

"Residential schemes remain challenging," said Deloitte's Simon Bedford.

"Anecdotally, issues of density and height restrictions have been raised as challenges for developers seeking funding."

Increasing the number of city centre residents is a key objective of Belfast Council, who believe it will help attract big employers.

In recent years Belfast has seen the completion of several student accommodation blocks, which are categorised separately, as it normally involves short-term letting.

Mr Bedford predicted 2019 "would instil further confidence in the market, alleviating some of the fears around Brexit."

He said the city had shown a "healthy appetite" for office projects, with an additional 400,000 sq ft of space added over the last year.

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