Merchant Square in Belfast sold for £87m

Oakland Holdings has completed the freehold sale of Merchant Square in Belfast to a Middle Eastern investor for £87m reflecting a yield of 5.23%.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 5:00 pm
Merchant Square will be the new premises for PwC in NI
Merchant Square will be the new premises for PwC in NI

Merchant Square reached practical completion in June 2020 and provides 240,000 sq ft of mixed-use accommodation comprising 225,000 sq 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 £4.86m per annum.

Merchant Square represents one of the most successful speculative office developments in the UK regions and the largest ever private sector office letting in NI. Once occupied, Merchant Square will be PwC’s largest office outside London with 3,000 employees.

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PwC in Northern Ireland is PwC’s fastest-growing UK region and Belfast is PwC’s recognised global centre for technology, digital advisory services and research.

The sale is one of the largest regional office transactions to close in the UK since the start of the pandemic and the highest value office transaction ever recorded in Northern Ireland.

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.”

Noel Lander, Director at JLLmadded: “The landmark sale of Merchant Square demonstrates the investor appetite for best in class regional offices with secure income streams and strong ESG credentials”.

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

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