Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has today announced that InvestNI plans to develop a scheme to help ensure Northern Ireland has adequate Grade A office accommodation to meet business needs.
The announcement comes in the wake of a report commissioned by Invest Northern Ireland to establish the nature and extent of market failure in the commercial and industrial property market; and whether government intervention would be advantageous.
Arlene Foster said: “The availability of suitable office accommodation is an important part of Northern Ireland’s investment proposition, as is the ability to offer variety and choice to potential investors, both local and international.
“The report has shown that demand for Grade A office accommodation has remained relatively steady over the past three years but, with limited new development taking place, the supply has fallen.
The lack of development may be due to constraints on bank lending to fund Grade A office space developments. Recent increases in office rents should improve the financial viability of projects and help encourage both developers and funders to re-enter the market.
“To address this, Invest NI will explore whether mezzanine or equity finance to developers on commercial terms would act as a short-term intervention which would stimulate the development of new Grade A office accommodation.”
Invest NI will begin seeking Expressions of Interest from developers from 1 May 2015 to 31 August 2015.