After a dry period for the Belfast office market, there are some signs of improvements on the horizon, as evident with the number of cranes near office developments, which has been the highest for the past decade according to the H1 Office Market Report 2019 from Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH).
There have been three significant deals in the area of H1 with buildings undergoing a major refurbishment. PwC had leased another 46,000 sq ft in Merchant Square with the remaining 201,000 sq ft of available space to be used for their headquarters.
There is undisclosed service/co-working business pre-let of 31,969 sq ft at Eagle Star House, and lastly, Neueda leased the West Tower at Lanyon Plaza which totalled 29,220 sq ft.
LSH Associate Director of Agency Greg Henry (pictured), said: “Current construction of new and refurbished offices has peaked at 1.3m sq ft, of which two-thirds is speculative. Supply has been boosted by the commencement of the currently under construction Mercantile (73,000 sq ft) on Donegall Square South and the high-quality refurbishment of the 37,000 sq ft The Kelvin (Stokes House) on College Square East, both due for completion in mid-2020.
“The Ewart at Bedford Square (215,000 sq ft) scheduled to complete in 2021 is partially (100,000 sq ft) pre-let to Deloitte.
“In a joint venture between Titanic Quarter Ltd and Belfast Harbour, enabling works commenced on Olympic House (150,000 sq ft) in June 2019. Belfast Harbour also commenced City Quays 3 (180,000 sq ft) in May 2019. Both buildings are scheduled to complete in 2021.”
Belfast currently prime rent is at £23.00 per sq ft. However, this is expected to change with the delivery of new and higher quality refurbished spaces continually growing in the area. The forecast for prime rent offices will is £24.00 by the end of the year.
Henry adds: “A raft of both new build and refurbishment developments are set to deliver good quality schemes to further replenish the market and drive the prime headline rent to a new high. However, with much of this stock scheduled to be delivered from 2020, take-up for 2019 is expected to be more in keeping with the five-year average trend.”