Bywater Properties and its joint venture partner Ashmour have started construction work on their comprehensive refurbishment programme of a well-known building on Belfast’s Donegall Place. The prominent city centre site has been home to Boots Chemists for decades and the redevelopment of its upper floors will now breathe new life into the significant mixed-use development.
Revised plans to transform the building, which has frontages on both Donegall Place and Fountain Street, into Grade A office space were approved in November 2020. The completed project, which will be branded as “35DP” will deliver 28,777 sq.ft. of modern office accommodation with shower facilities, cycle storage and drying rooms.
The development will also create a coffee kiosk adjacent to the main office entrance on Donegall Place and a 1,300 sq.ft. retail unit facing on to Fountain Street.
Ashley Stewart, director of Ashmour, said the scheme represented a great solution for the current market as it puts occupiers at the heart of the city centre with access to all of its amenities.
“Bywater and Ashmour have invested in a number of different projects in Belfast since 2014 as we strongly believe in its potential as a city. The commencement of on-site works at 35DP demonstrates our belief in the future potential of Belfast city centre to bring people together to live, work and relax.
“The city centre will need to be re-energised post-Covid 19 and bringing the best out of under-used buildings like DP35 will play a big role in that. The pandemic has shown us that workspace needs to be flexible, sustainable and geared towards helping people collaborate. People now want to be excited by their place of work. Our design keeps this front of mind and we are confident there will be strong demand.”
Images of the proposed design provide an insight into the high specification, light-filled scheme, which incorporates some impressive floor to ceiling heights, a roof terrace and a glass-roofed meeting space. The industrial edge of the shell of the building is to be maintained but the re-design will provide a modern dedicated entrance foyer, new services throughout and will play to the character of the space.
Bywater/Ashmour also confirmed that leading local construction firm GRAHAM has been awarded the contract to deliver 35DP. Commenting on the contract award, Mark Gibson, GRAHAM Managing Director – Interior Fit-Out, said: “GRAHAM is at the forefront of the development and delivery of Grade A office space in Belfast, and our selection to complete the 35DP project in the city underlines our reputation as a trusted contractor, with a proven track record of enhancing outcomes for our clients and partners. Despite the obvious challenges facing the office sector, the commencement of 35DP is a clear indication of the continued demand for innovative, vibrant and modern working environments. We are proud to be working collaboratively with Bywater/Ashmour to create a forward-thinking development that will infuse fresh dynamism into a landmark city centre location.”
Savills have been appointed as letting agents to market the scheme which is anticipated to be ready for occupation from June 2021.
“35DP offers fantastic Grade A office accommodation with a unique character and feel. With floors ranging in size from 3,300 sq.ft. to approximately 9,000 sq.ft., this flexible office space offers a range of multi-let opportunities or a prominent single-let office,” said Gareth Howell, Divisional Director at Savills.