Belfast office sold to Middle Eastern investor for £87m

Published on 7th April 2021

Source: Irish Times

Oakland Holdings has completed the highest value office transaction ever recorded in Northern Ireland, securing £87 million (€102 million) from the sale of Merchant Square in Belfast to a Middle Eastern investor.

The development, which reached practical completion in June 2020, extends to a total of 22,296sq m (240,000sq ft) of mixed-use accommodation, comprising 20,903sq m (225,000sq ft) of grade A offices and six retail units. The office space is let in its entirety to PwC until 2040 with tenant-only break options in 2030 and 2035 and produces a total income of £4.86 million (€5.69 million) per annum. The sale price reflects a yield of 5.23 per cent.

Quite apart from being Northern Ireland’s most-valuable office sale to date, Merchant Square also accounts for the region’s largest ever private sector office letting. Once occupied, the Belfast city scheme will be PwC’s largest office outside London with 3,000 employees.

Commenting on the deal, Guy Hollis of Oakland Holdings said: “We are proud to have created one of the biggest commercial property schemes in Northern Ireland.

“Five years ago, Merchant Square was a concept for a quality speculative building which reflected the demand for office space in Belfast. Now built and fully let, it has attracted interest from global investors. Merchant Square is an indication of what Belfast can achieve.”

Oakland Holdings was advised by JLL, A&L Goodbody and KPMG, while the purchaser was advised by SPS Investment, King & Spalding International LLP, TLT LLP and BDO LLP.