Accounting and advisory firm PwC has signed up for what has been hailed as Belfast’s biggest private-sector office letting deal to become the main tenant in the Merchant Square development in the city centre.
The firm, which is currently based in Waterfront Plaza,said plans for further investment and job creation mean it is running out of space.
It’s 2,000 staff are expected to relocate to the recently announced Merchant Square development in the summer of 2020.
The £70 million Grade A complex is being developed by Oakland Holdings, and sits at the junction of Wellington Place and Upper Queen Street, combining the former Oyster House and Royston House.
When completed it will offer more than 200,000sqft of Grade A office accommodation on nine floors, with space for more than 3,000 people.
PwC in Northern Ireland is the firm’s fastest-growing UK region and its largest regional office outside London.
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.
It has recruited more than 600 new staff on the past 12 months and has doubled local employment numbers to more than 2,000 in the last two years; largely due to the significant growth of Operate, the firm’s innovative operational delivery division.
“This move underlines the PwC Executive Board’s confidence in Northern Ireland as a location and the success of the firm here,” said Northern Ireland chair and head of UK regions , Paul Terrington.
“We will continue to grow in local, national and international markets from Belfast, drawing on the technology skills emerging from our schools, universities and colleges.”
Over the past year, he said more than £50 million had been invested in the local economy.
“Our decision to relocate to Merchant Square and concentrate our growth plans in Belfast reinforces our belief in the city’s ability to inspire and support the creativity and aspirations of our people, and to help us attract and retain top talent here.
“We are investing in technology and collaborative space to ensure we can work well with clients from across the globe and with local business, education and social and community enterprise.
“We intend to make Merchant Square an accessible and vibrant part of life in the city.”
Gareth Graham of Oakland Holdings said: “Merchant Square will be one of the most striking office buildings ever undertaken in Belfast and will prove a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Belfast city centre.”