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Belfast development The Paper Exchange starts this week

Wirefox has laid the groundwork to create The Paper Exchange, Belfast’s largest speculative office development as part of a multi-million-pound investment that could bring up to 2,000 jobs to the heart of the city centre. 

Revised plans to transform the Oxford and Gloucester buildings on Chichester Street into 11 storeys of Grade A office space were approved in 2019. Demolition has been completed and construction work on the entire 200,000 sq. ft scheme starts this week. 

Wirefox also confirmed that leading local construction firm Heron Bros has been awarded the multimillion-pound contract to deliver ‘The Paper Exchange’ by December 2021 and that more than 100 construction jobs will be created as part of the investment.

Designed by Wirefox and TODD Architects, the state-of-the-art office development will feature an eye-catching double height entrance lobby, floor to ceiling glazing, seven high-speed lifts, a 4,000 sq. ft. private outdoor terrace, space for 85 bicycle racks and dedicated showering and changing facilities. Two ground floor units have also been earmarked for retail and restaurant use. 

T total of 155,000 sq. ft of flexible office accommodation will be available once complete. 

Wirefox Development Director, Joanne McBurney, said the mixed-use scheme represented the first significant, privately funded, speculative office development in Belfast for a generation and a major boost in business confidence for the city and Northern Ireland. 

“Wirefox has been investing across asset classes in Belfast since 2015 as we strongly believe it has global potential.” 

Development of The Paper Exchange was initiated in order to address the lack of grade A office space available in Belfast, at a time when demand far outweighs supply. 

The Paper Exchange will represent the best office accommodation in Belfast and will attract both local and international interest, providing significant benefit to the local council and economy. We’re delighted that this project is now under way.” 

Located at 43-63 Chichester Street in the heart of Belfast city centre, the mixed-use development replaces the outdated Oxford and Gloucester House buildings which Wirefox acquired in 2016. It also encompasses an adjacent, vacant site which it acquired in the same year. 

Savills and Colliers International have been appointed as joint letting agents to market the scheme, which was first awarded planning approval in 2018. 

“The Paper Exchange is a landmark Grade A office development for Belfast city centre and provides an unparalleled opportunity for local, national and international occupiers to enjoy an enviable location which benefits from every amenity,” Gareth Howell, Divisional Director at Savills, said. 

A privately promoted, speculative development of this nature has been notably absent in the Belfast City Centre market and as such this is a much-welcomed step by Wirefox.” 

Ian Duddy, Director of Business Space at Colliers International, said: “This exciting speculative Grade A office development will enhance the Belfast city centre office market offer and enable indigenous and international occupiers alike to grow in a world class environment in the heart of Belfast city centre.” 

Ready for occupation in 2022, The Paper Exchange respects and reflects the city’s proud history and heritage in the craftsmanship and manufacturing of linen, rope and paper in a new, contemporary way. 

Design images provide an insight into the high specification, light-filled scheme, which incorporates floor-to-ceiling views, natural stone and porcelain floorings, brush gold, bronze and brass fittings in addition to materials and systems deployed to reduce energy consumption and dramatically improve environmental performance against exacting industry standards. 

Brona Marshall, Associate, TODD Architects, said: “Designed as an outstanding example of innovation, light, space and sustainability, The Paper Exchange will be one of Belfast and Northern Ireland’s newest and most important commercial developments. 

Its size, scale and location will provide unrivalled Grade A office accommodation in a bright and contemporary structure that will set a new standard for buildings of this type in the city.” 

Wirefox is a Holywood-based investment company.