Planning Approved for Northern Ireland’s Largest Office Building

16 May 2017

‘One Bankmore Square’ – a major new office scheme at the Movie House cinema site on Belfast’s Dublin Road – has been granted planning permission by Belfast City Council. The building, when complete, will extend to 250,000 sq ft of Grade A office space – complete with 8,000 sq ft of ground floor space for ancillary retail uses – and will become the largest single office building in Northern Ireland. In addition, as part of the overall offering, there is potential for the scheme to include a Movie House Cinema.

Gary McCausland, CEO of Richland Group commented:

“We’re delighted with this outcome and excited that we can now concentrate on delivering One Bankmore Square, N.Ireland’s most ambitious office scheme to the market and continue to progress discussions with potential occupiers. The level of interest and positivity around the project locally and internationally has been very positive & to be named Key Development Scheme and ‘Pick of Projects’ at MIPIM 2017 was a great honour for the One Bankmore Square team and recognition of the magnitude and importance of the development for Belfast & indeed N.Ireland.”

The Richland Group lodged the planning application for One Bankmore Square in March 2017 after over a year of intensive design by the professional team and eight months of engagement with the planners, its consultees and public consultation events.

Planning Consultant Clyde Shanks said:

“The committee has pleasingly endorsed the quality of the planning application submission which was informed by a very well managed pre-application discussion process which had a strong focus and highly committed input from senior officers in the Council. 

It demonstrates that major planning applications can be determined with priority and speed where considerable effort to address all the relevant issues is put in by the applicant and his team and that in turn is reciprocated by a highly responsive Council planning team.  The whole engagement process for such a major proposal has been very positive indeed.@

One Bankmore Square’s pivotal location is a 3-minute walk from Belfast City Hall and the new £250 million Transport Hub for Belfast. A key element of the proposal is the transformation of Bankmore Square into a focal public open space with potential for an outdoor cinema and public art exhibitions.

The cost of developing the building and Bankmore Square, is estimated to be approximately £65m, with the creation of over 570 construction jobs in the process.

The building will have enough space to accommodate up to 3,000 office workers across its 12 floors. The lower floor plates will comprise of 25,000 square feet of net useable space – a layout that proves popular with office occupiers – and the upper floors will extend to 15,000 sq ft with a large wraparound roof terrace on the 9th floor.  

An economic impact assessment of the proposed development estimates that, over the 2-year construction period, the development will contribute:

Construction Phase
Total development value £65 million
Direct construction jobs per month generated = 571
Indirect construction jobs per month = 343

Completed Development
Operational employment = 2,953 to 2,962
Operational economic benefits = £128m per annum
Business rates per annum = up to £1.1m per annum

Simon McEvoy, Head of Office Agency at Savills commented:

“Throughout the planning process the Richland Group has taken a proactive approach of engagement with the Planning Authorities and it is a great to have the Section 76 developer’s contribution agreed as this will streamline the delivery of One Bankmore Square.

One Bankmore Square has taken on a life of its own and quite unusually for an office development, it has really caught the public’s imagination, which is great as central to the design has always been to take advantage of the opportunity to ‘place-make’ with the reinvigoration of Bankmore Square and continue the regeneration of Dublin Road, one of Belfast’s most important thoroughfares.”

Dougie Wheeler from Lambert Smith Hampton commented:

“There is a large team of professionals and a lot of time already invested into One Bankmore Square and everyone is very eager to move the project to the next stage of starting onsite and seeing their plans & designs become a reality.”  



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Simon McEvoy

Simon McEvoy

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