NORTHERN IRELAND INVESTMENT FUND AWARDS FIRST LOAN AHEAD OF FORECAST
London, May 2018 – The Northern Ireland Investment Fund has awarded its first loan; a £20 million senior debt facility to Oakland (FRO) Limited to fund the re-development of Merchant Square in Central Belfast. This is the first speculative office scheme of its size and quality for several years in Belfast and this tranche of funding will provide a gateway to unlock additional private sector funding.
The £100m Northern Ireland Investment Fund, which is managed by CBRE’s Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors, was launched in November last year to provide debt finance for real estate, regeneration, low carbon and infrastructure projects and is managed on behalf of the Department of Finance and the Northern Ireland Strategic Investment Board.
The funding will finance the re-development and extension of existing offices in Belfast to provide 202,740 sq ft of high quality Grade A office accommodation with a ground floor retail element. The Merchant Square scheme is located in a prominent location within the central business district and is expected to command premium rents on completion to reflect the quality of finishes and prime central location. The fund’s loan will match the existing mezzanine debt and equity behind the scheme pound for pound.
Andrew Antoniades, Senior Director, CBRE Investment Advisory comments: “We are excited to be getting the Fund off to a fantastic start, well ahead of forecast. Making such a significant investment is a statement showing what the Fund is about – supporting regional growth whilst delivering exceptional leverage, outputs and returns for the Fund. We are well progressed with other exciting schemes within and outside Belfast and remain very much open for more applications.
Hugh Widdis, Permanent Secretary, Northern Ireland Department of Finance added: “Today’s announcement of the Merchant Square development sees the first project investment from the £100 million Northern Ireland Investment Fund. This first project loan demonstrates the Northern Ireland Investment Fund’s positive impact and future potential in terms of facilitating private sector-led regeneration here. I look forward to further announcements in the time ahead on project loans being confirmed to stimulate additional economic growth and jobs”.