Wednesday 16 October 2019

Developer Osborne's €450m Belfast masterplan approved


An artist's impression of The Waterside project
An artist's impression of The Waterside project

John Reynolds

Property developer Jim Osborne's firm Osborne and Company has been given the green light from Belfast City Council's planning committee for his €450m Waterside development.

Construction is expected to begin on the project - which includes 250,000sq ft of office space, as well as 675 apartments, further serviced apartments, a hotel, and community, cultural, leisure, and retail properties - in the coming months.

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The work, on the 16-acre former site of the Sirocco Works on the Laganside, will be overseen by the firm's construction director, Flan McNamara, who previously oversaw the construction of The Shard skyscraper in London.

Founding director Conor Osborne said: "The scale of this project is huge, and so are its potential benefits. Construction alone could create over 1,000 jobs and it will bring a host of new facilities to this vacant site including community, cultural and leisure facilities, such as cafes, bars, gym, restaurants and local retail, as well as proposals to enhance pedestrian and cycle connections across the river.

"The approval of the masterplan is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing the conversation about how The Waterside represents a once in a generation opportunity to enhance Belfast's status as a world-class location to live and work."

The masterplan approval builds upon that previously granted for a 13-storey, 250,000sq ft office space that was secured last August.

Previously Jim Osborne has said: "Half the people I grew up with in Dundalk were transplants from Belfast - from the Markets or the Short Strand. The city and its people are welcoming, positive, energetic and entrepreneurial,"

His London-headquartered firm specialises in building to suit occupiers that are mainly blue-chip corporates such as banks, and has built more than 20 million sq ft of developments worth more than €2.5bn to date. It also previously built the biggest Ikea warehouse in the world, in Dubai, while last year Osborne sold another building there to HSBC bank for a reported $235m.

It developed Symantec's European headquarters in west Dublin. Last year, the firm said it had looked at potential developments in Dublin, but had no imminent plans to build here.

The firm aims to develop more than €5bn of property over the next three years.

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