Proposals for the largest commercial development for Belfast since the banking crisis began in 2007 have been lodged with planners.
Around 190,000 square feet of office space and associated facilities in the Titanic Quarter, a former part of the Harland and Wolff shipyard close to the River Lagan, would be marketed to companies providing high tech support to the financial services industry, it was revealed.
Two tower blocks worth £20 million - one seven storeys high - would dominate an area once synonymous with boat building but now transforming into a technology hub. Citi, a US-based banking group, is among the firms already established nearby.
David Gavaghan, Titanic Quarter chief executive, said: “As we see the first tangible signs that we are moving out of one of the longest economic recessions in the last century, it is time to ensure that Belfast can continue to offer potential investors flexible, modern, high-end business accommodation.”
Titanic Quarter has lodged a full planning application for offices and supporting facilities at a space beside a further education campus near the Titanic Belfast visitor centre and the area where the famous vessel was designed.
Located on the site of the shipyard’s former engineering works, it could open in autumn 2015 and accommodate 2,000 workers, a Titanic Quarter statement said.
Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of government jobs agency Invest NI, said being able to select from a wide range of properties was a key factor for potential investors.
CBI Northern Ireland director Nigel Smyth said: “There is a strategic shortage of high quality office space in Belfast - which will impact on our ability to attract in new international investors and support the growth of indigenous companies.
“It is vitally important for the health of the city that we create the necessary infrastructure to support job growth. The Titanic Quarter has been a great success to date and offers exciting opportunities in the future.”