Gilbert-Ash hands over ground-breaking £14m commercial office project

PwC’s new Merchant Square offices in Belfast are set to ‘transform city into a global centre of innovation’

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:40 pm

Belfast construction and fit-out company, Gilbert-Ash, has handed over one of the most ground-breaking projects to be completed in Northern Ireland in recent years.

The award-winning company was the fit-out contractor for PwC at Merchant Square, a £14million project which has created 200,000 sq ft of Grade A office space over nine floors in Belfast city centre.

The offices will accommodate up to 3,000 employees at the former Oyster and Royston buildings, in the heart of the business district and adjacent to the City Hall.

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Gilbert-Ash Managing Director, Ray Hutchinson said the new offices are one of the most digitally advanced spaces in the city and will cement Belfast’s position as a global centre of innovation.

He continued: “We are always very proud to work on landmark buildings, but this project in our home city is one we are particularly proud of as Merchant Square has the power to be truly transformative for Belfast. While the building boasts an array of technology, the design features include elements of the industries which Belfast has been built upon. It is a celebration of our past while looking to the future with great confidence.

“The interiors within PwC’s offices incorporates the city’s industrial and linen heritage as well as a number of Northern Ireland’s high-profile landmarks, such as the internationally iconic Harland & Wolff cranes. Themes running throughout the building have also been inspired by the city’s ship building and aviation industries. The building also reflects the geography of Belfast with the River Lagan and Botanic Gardens incorporated into intricately crafted bespoke interiors.”

The landmark building incorporates technology-enabled client collaboration and event spaces. It also includes a state-of-the-art digital hub that will provide the infrastructure and environment to inspire and support innovation.

Ray explained: “We have worked with excellent local partners to bring this fit-out project to life, with advanced logistical planning and management during what has been a challenging year for many industries, including construction. This is a building which will help foster an excellent working environment and help inspire and attract the best people to work in Belfast. We are very proud to be handing it over to PwC now.”

PwC in Northern Ireland is PwC UK’s fastest-growing UK region and Merchant Square represents its largest regional office outside London.

Kevin MacAllister, PwC’s Regional Market Leader, Northern Ireland said: “This is an exciting time for PwC, and we are very proud to be moving into our stand-out new home at Merchant Square delivered by the excellent team at Gilbert-Ash. Belfast is PwC’s recognised global centre for technology, digital advisory services and research and is a major exporter of technology and regulatory advisory services.

“This move underlines the PwC Executive Board’s confidence in Northern Ireland, and we have already begun a major recruitment drive with 771 jobs being created over the next five years. Merchant Square will enable PwC to continue to grow in local, national and international markets from Belfast.”

Gilbert-Ash attributes its continued success to its ‘As One’ approach and its unique working culture and family environment as an employee-owned company. It continues to complete a broad portfolio of successful construction projects across sectors including arts and culture, workplace, hotels and leisure, science and technology, retail and residential.

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