by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

A £50m Grade-A office scheme has been unveiled as part of new plans for Belfast Waterside, formerly Sirocco Quays. The new proposals have been revealed following a range of comprehensive discussions with community groups, local elected representatives and Council officials.


Part of the wider £400m regeneration project which will create 5,500 jobs, 750 new homes and almost 80,000 square metres of contemporary office space overall, this first-phase scheme for a 25,000-square metre Grade-A office building, to be delivered in 2019, will help meet Belfast’s shortage of high-quality Grade-A office space.

As the first stage in their ambitious proposals to turn Belfast Waterside into an exciting and unrivalled river-front destination, Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd unveiled their plans for this initial 25,000 square metre Grade-A office building alongside a revised site masterplan for development of modern workspaces, homes and leisure facilities on their prominent city-centre site. These new proposals will connect the residents and community of the East Bank with Belfast city centre and detailed plans for residential development will be announced early next year.

James Osborne, one of the joint owners, explained their plans:

“This premium office development of around 25,000 square metres heralds our first step in delivering a new high-quality city-centre destination in which people will live, work and socialise in Belfast. This first-phase £50m office scheme will set a new benchmark for office space suitable for corporate occupiers.

“This initial building is an important part of our wider vision to deliver the highest quality office and residential spaces in the City. It will begin the re-integration of this long neglected East Bank site with the rest of the city and, in so doing, will help to link the entire East Belfast community with the city-centre. We have listened very carefully to the communities involved and hope that, together with Belfast City Council’s regeneration vision, which we fully support, we can play a pivotal part in providing safe, well-lit and enjoyable walking and cycling routes throughout and beyond our site. The office plans now unveiled will provide the first of an expected 5,300 new jobs to be located at Belfast Waterside.

“Proposals for the 16-acre site will include a landmark pedestrian footbridge, creating a new connection from the city core to the east of the city. The site, which has lain vacant for over two decades, includes vibrant new leisure and public spaces, with an hotel, restaurants, cafes, community uses and retail space set alongside the planned 750 new homes and 80,000 square metres of contemporary office space. Mr Osborne continued

“Belfast Waterside is an important site for the regeneration and growth of the city. It will create construction jobs, and modern workspaces for around 11.5% of the 46,000 new jobs that Belfast City Council is seeking to create by 2035. Following our extensive consultation with the city, statutory and community consultees, we are delighted to be taking the first step with this office proposal, alongside our revised masterplan.”

Internationally renowned Danish architectural firm Henning Larsen have been brought on-board to renew the masterplan for the Belfast Waterside site. Jacob Kurek, Director of Henning Larsen, added:

“This site provides an opportunity to create a new piece of Belfast which enhances the liveability of the City Centre and brings much needed vibrancy to the east bank of the river. The new plans respond to the feedback received and we believe these plans will create a fantastic addition to Belfast and make a significant contribution to the City’s ambitious targets for homes, growth and investment.”

Swinford (Sirocco) Ltd will now undertake a minimum 12 weeks of pre-application community consultation, including four public exhibitions, before submitting new (Outline and Full) planning applications to Belfast City Council. The former industrial site, now derelict brownfield, was purchased by Swinford in August 2016, with completion in January this year.

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