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The Sixth, Royal Avenue, Belfast, Northern Ireland

An opportunity to invest in a mixed-use, 250,000 square feet space that will serve the Grade A office, creative and technology sectors.

This is a Grade A office space opportunity that targets the creative and technology sectors. Northern Ireland has one of the fastest growing technology clusters in the UK, with Cyber Security and Fintech particular areas of strength.

The region is also a hub for the creative industry. The majority of HBO’s epic fantasy television series Game of Thrones was filmed here, while other companies such as Universal Pictures, BBC and Disney have also chosen Northern Ireland for recent productions.

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Location:

Belfast

Investment type:

Capital investment - real estate

Sector:

(Greener buildings, Mixed use)

Project promoter:

McAleer & Rushe and Belfast City Council

Scale:

£80 million GDV

Planning status:

Detailed planning obtained

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

The recently published “10x Economy” by the Northern Ireland Executive sets out the region’s economic growth aspirations, and there’s an emphasis on digital innovation.

Belfast is already the world’s number one location for FinTech investment. Likewise, the Northern Ireland film industry continues to grow in reputation, with Netflix and Paramount among the latest US studios to bring projects to the region.

This opportunity is perfect for the creative and technology sectors, as the space has been designed by leading UK architect AHMM. They’ve been appointed to design workspace with the flexibility to accommodate global headquarters, with floor plates of up to 3,200 square metres (34,000 square feet).

The development would work equally well for smaller enterprises in sectors with potential to expand.

Location

Northern Ireland is uniquely positioned in that it’s retained tariff-free access to both the UK and European Union.

The project is located in an emerging creative district centred on education, media and technology.

The site is adjacent to the £250 million expansion of Ulster University which will add about 18,000 students and staff to the city centre, plus the proposed £100 million “Belfast Stories” project due, which is due to open in 2028.

Connectivity

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

Belfast also 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

A strong eco system for digital innovation has already been established in the area, one that’s supported strongly by government through Catalyst - which promotes a connected innovation community throughout the region.

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; over 73% of their research is deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

The area is an attractive business environment. Already, over 70% of companies choose to reinvest in Northern Ireland and it is already home to more than 1,100 international investors, including Allstate, Citi, Seagate, Spirit Aerosystems, and FinTrU.

Research and expertise

The project is a joint venture between Belfast City Council and McAleer & Rushe, an alliance created to help deliver a hub for the creative and technology sectors, one that has the capacity to cater for Grade A office demand.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights

The space will have multiple terraces at a higher level to encourage biodiversity and provide wellness to occupants.

The plan includes a cycle space to promote green travel as well as showers and lockers, plus a roof top running track to promote physical and mental wellbeing.

The project is also targeted a BREEAM rating of excellent and an EPC rating of A.

Promoters and partnerships

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

They have developed in excess of 186,000 square metres (2 million square feet) of office developments along with many high-profile schemes in the student accommodation, hotel and residential sectors throughout the UK.

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 project is in an area of the city centre that will benefit from £350 million of additional investment, which includes the new Ulster University campus and the proposed “Belfast Stories” visitor destination centre (part of Belfast Region City Deal).

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