Belfast Harbour acquires Obel 68 office block in £15m-plus deal

Obel 68 is the latest sale achieved in an 'increasingly confident' market
Obel 68 is the latest sale achieved in an 'increasingly confident' market

Commercial property agents Lisney have confirmed completion of a deal that sees Belfast Harbour acquire Obel 68, a 52,000sq ft, Grade A office investment on Belfast’s waterfront, in a transaction in excess of the £15m asking price.

Obel 68, part of the Obel complex that includes Ireland’s tallest building, the Obel Tower, is let to international law firm Allen & Overy and was put on the market in early May.

Obel 68 is one of a pair of high profile office investments brought to the market by Lisney in recent months; the other being the 70,000sq ft Metro Building on Donegall Square South, which is currently under offer having been marketed at offers in excess of £21m.

The sale of Obel 68 to Belfast Harbour, which operates Belfast Port, follows Lisney’s £16.4m off-market acquisition of 40-46 Donegall Place for French investment firm Corum Asset Management in June, which is the largest retail investment transaction in Northern Ireland so far this year.

“We always expected this instruction to be well received locally, but we were pleasantly surprised by the level of interest coming from London and internationally,” said Nicky Finnieston, investment director at Lisney.

“We had interest from private investors, property companies, private equity and institutions which is a glowing vote of confidence for the Belfast office market.

“Growing confidence in the office rental market over the past couple of years has resulted in a record first quarter take up in 2018 of 270,000 sq. ft. that provides a compelling backdrop for potential investors.

“We’ve also seen prime office rents move from £12.50 per square foot to over £21.50 over recent years and there are a number of office schemes planned where quoting rents will be upwards of £23 per square foot.”