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Wirefox, a Co Down-based property group that has invested more than £225 million (€250 million) in developments across Northern Ireland, has announced details of a new £45 million project in Belfast.
Plans to develop the Oxford and Gloucester buildings on Chichester Street as ‘The Paper Exchange’ have gone on public display this week.
The buildings and adjacent lands are to be redeveloped to create 200,000sq ft of Grade A office space that will accommodate up to 2,000 employees once completed.
About 100 jobs are to be created during the construction phase of the project.
“The shortage of Grade A office space in Belfast has been well publicised,” said Wirefox investment director Steven Flannery. “The proposed development will provide a best-in-class office in a core central business district area of the city. We believe the design and prime central location will be hugely attractive to domestic and international corporations, and a major draw for the calibre of employee they will seek to attract.”
Founded in 2014, Wirefox is controlled by BJ Eastwood, the grandson of well-known businessman and former boxing promoter Barney Eastwood.
The company has been on something of a spending spree of late, acquiring a large number of properties in Ireland and Scotland.
Earlier this year, it acquired the Rockford portfolio in Scotland for £35 million. The development, which is located near to Glasgow city centre, totals almost 400,000sq ft and is already home to a number of blue-chip companies.
It also recently purchased Silvan House in Edinburgh, the headquarters of Forestry Commission Scotland, for £18 million and Longbridge House in Belfast for an undisclosed sum.
Other acquisitions include the Southergate Centre in Dumfries, which was previously part of Nama’s controversial Project Eagle portfolio, which was sold to Cerberus. The list price for the centre was £6.75 million.
In addition to commercial properties, the company acquired a substantial residential development known as Ballantine Garden Village in Lisburn in late 2015.