29/02/2016

Developers And Investors 'Seeking Opportunities'

Major development sites in Belfast are now "largely free from the burden of NAMA debt" and leading developers and investors in the region are back in the market seeking opportunities.

That was the key message being delivered at the launch of a major investment initiative, 'Belfast Goes to Market', hosted by Lord Mayor Councillor Arder Carson at St George's Market.

Belfast City Council's chief executive Suzanne Wylie and Jackie Henry, senior partner of Deloitte Northern Ireland who is heading up a joint public/private sector delegation aimed at promoting Belfast at a major international investment event next month, were also among the speakers.

The audience of investors, developers, city stakeholders and political leaders heard that there has never been a better time to invest in the city and that a target of £1 billion of investment and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs was within reach.

With planning powers having transferred to Belfast City Council, the city is in a strong position to deliver and, together with the movement in the real estate market, the prospect of more foreign direct investment and the pending lowering of corporation tax to 12.5% in April 2018, Belfast has now become a very attractive investment location for developers.
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Among the projects that are expected to move towards development in the near future are a re-imagined Royal Exchange, a major scheme around the Belfast Telegraph, regeneration of Castle Street and an eco business park in the North Foreshore. The Sirocco Works has just been sold and it is hoped plans for its development will start to emerge over the summer along with adjacent sites such as Queens Quay. 

The Lord Mayor said: "The council unveiled its investment and regeneration strategy last year with the aims of growing employment and the population, improving the retail offering and maximising tourism opportunity.

"There are already tangible examples of how this is starting to work. Europe's largest and most exciting waterfront development at Titanic Quarter continues to be transformed before our eyes. There are various other plans to for Grade A office space, student housing, hotels, residential developments.

"There are also plans for the new transport hub at Great Victoria Street Station, the new Belfast Rapid Transit System due to begin in 2018 and our universities are bringing forward half a billion worth of investment with Ulster University moving into the city centre and Queen's investing around £300 million in its property.

"This is a city on the rise and the time for investment in Belfast is now."

(MH)

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