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Corporation Street and Tomb Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland

A substantial build-to-rent project in Belfast city centre, with a chance for early participation via different finance options - including equity share and traditional funding.

This is a substantial site in Belfast that’s targeting the emerging build-to-rent sector (BTR). The proposal will cater for a 298-bedroom scheme that will help Belfast City Council achieve its goal of increasing the population of the city centre by 70,000 by 2035.

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Location:

Northern Ireland

Investment type:

Capital investment - real estate

Sector:

(Greener buildings, Real estate, Residential)

Project promoter:

McAleer & Rushe

Scale:

£55 million GDV

Planning status:

Planning application submitted

Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):

0-6 months

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Neil McIvor

Investment Opportunities Project Manager, Northern Ireland

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Sector and market opportunity

Belfast City Council aspires to increase the city centre’s population with its Regeneration and Investment Strategy. Population growth is now an important policy objective for the council, so this goal will create activity and demand for this asset class.

BTR is full of potential. Well-located developments are starting to cater exclusively for the rental market. In the coming years, this sector will be instrumental in meeting housing need in Northern Ireland, so this is an exciting investment proposition.

Location

The project covers a 0.4 hectare/1 acre plot in the Cathedral Quarter, a rejuvenated and vibrant area immediately north of Belfast city centre, comprising numerous bars, restaurants and leisure amenities, alongside residential and commercial developments.

The site is also within easy walking distance of the £250 million expansion of Ulster University which will add about 18,000 students and staff to the city centre as well as the proposed £100 million ‘Belfast Stories’ city deal, which is a visitor destination project due to open in 2028.

Connectivity

This opportunity is located in Belfast city centre.

Belfast enjoys excellent road, rail and air infrastructure right across the British Isles. It’s only a one-hour flight from London, under 2 hours’ drive from Dublin and only a couple of minutes’ drive from both the M1 and M2 motorways.

Belfast has the highest availability of superfast broadband in the UK and the fastest direct broadband link from Europe to North America.

Local talent and skills

About 61% of all jobs in Northern Ireland are in Belfast. The country has a young and vibrant population, with 53% of the population aged under 40.

There are two world-leading universities in Belfast. 73% of their research is deemed world-leading or internationally excellent. Belfast also has two hospitals, each with considerable R&D opportunities.

Already, over 70% of companies choose to reinvest in Northern Ireland and it’s already home to more than 1,100 international investors, including Allstate, Citi, Seagate, Spirit Aerosystems, and FinTrU.

These statistics demonstrate an attractive business environment for young professionals. This will provide demand for various sectors, including residential, as they will require quality homes to live in.

Research and expertise

The project is directly influenced by Belfast City Council’s policy to increase the city centre population by 70,000 residents by 2035.

Further details

Planning has been submitted for a 298-bedroom bespoke BTR residential scheme with ground floor retail. The scheme is designed around a central landscaped courtyard which will comprise art installations and other attractive features.

The proposed impressive building will range in height from 11 to 18 levels, with a large landscaped residents’ roof terrace on the 11th floor. There will be a sky lounge and viewing platform at the very top to offer far-reaching views of Belfast and beyond.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights

The project includes:

  • extensive, external roof top terraces encouraging wellness for occupants and biodiversity
  • in-curtilage open landscaped courtyard for occupants providing social space
  • various residents’ lounges and meeting areas creating a sense of community for all occupants
  • targeted EPC ‘A’ rating and targeted BREEAM ‘excellent’
  • 16 in-curtilage car parking, with proposed Car Club for future occupants, encouraging green travel
  • 216 in-curtilage cycle spaces encouraging physical exercise and green travel
  • residents’ gym

Promoters and partnerships

With over 50 years of experience, McAleer and Rushe is an established construction, development and investment group covering the UK.

They have developed more than 186,000 square metres (2 million square feet) of office developments, along with many high profile, high value schemes in the student accommodation, hotel and residential sectors throughout the UK. Turnover is about £400 million per annum.

Local and national government support

The opportunity has close alignment with local government policies such as Programme for Government, The Belfast Agenda, and Belfast Region City Deal.

This opportunity is situated in an area of the city centre that is to benefit from £350 million of additional investment. This includes the new Ulster University campus and the proposed ‘Belfast Stories’ visitor destination centre which is part of the Belfast Region City Deal.

Northern Ireland has the only United Kingdom land border with the rest of the European Union.

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