NIO Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Barry Gardiner, MP, today announced that Government has awarded Preferred Bidder status to the MRDE Accommodation Services Consortia to provide new headquarters for Invest Northern Ireland at Bedford Street, in the heart of Belfast's Financial and commercial centre.
MRDE is a locally based consortium comprising McAleer and Rushe and Dunloe Ewart. The new building is to be provided under a Public Private Partnership as one of the Strategic Investment Board’s early ‘priority’ projects under the Government’s Reinvestment and Reform Initiative.
Mr Gardiner said: “The Bedford Street site, opposite the Ulster Hall and beside Windsor House, is in a prime location at the heart of Belfast’s business and commercial centre and would be easily accessible to client companies, potential investors and the wider public.
“The planned location reflects Invest NI’s leading role at the centre of the business community. It should enable the organisation to build stronger links with the major financial institutions and other providers of professional services that have their headquarters located in the centre of Belfast.
“I am confident the move to a new single location headquarters will significantly assist Invest NI’s service to its customers. It will also help us demonstrate clearly the benefits of reforming our approach to economic development through the creation of Invest NI and assist us to realise planned staff and cost efficiencies.
“The MRDE bid contains an impressive building design with many unique features which reflect Invest NI’s strategic focus on innovation and creativity. The designers have incorporated the latest environmentally friendly construction techniques and advanced materials that, for example, promote and facilitate energy efficiency.
“A number of issues remain to be agreed before we are in a position to confirm this contract. Work is continuing, and I hope to be able to announce the award of the contract before the summer. The proposed building projects a strong, positive and progressive image to customers, clients and potential overseas investors”, he added.
Professor Fabian Monds, Chairman of Invest NI, also welcomed the Preferred Bidder decision: “We are all very excited by the potential location, the striking design concepts and level of service provision offered. The MRDE bid has the potential to provide an ultra modern and highly functional working environment to facilitate close co-operation between our customers and staff. Our new Headquarters, when completed, will help us to achieve our objective of securing higher levels of innovation and enterprise in the Northern Ireland business community.”
Andy Carty, Chief Executive of the Strategic Investment Board, said: “Invest NI should be congratulated. They have managed the PPP process extremely well. To be at Preferred Bidder stage within 12 months of starting the bidding is no mean achievement. Provided that negotiations continue to go smoothly, we remain hopeful of final contract award by this summer. The modern design and efficient workplace specification also offer a firm benchmark for all future Government accommodation projects.”