Lisney have confirmed the completion of a deal that sees Belfast Harbour acquire Obel 68, a 52,000 sq. 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, a complex that includes Ireland’s tallest building, the Obel Tower, is let to International law firm Allen & Overy and was brought to the market by Lisney 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 70,000 sq. ft. Metro Building on Donegall Square South, which is currently under offer having been marketed at offers in excess of £21m. This Grade A office space overlooking Belfast city hall is one of Belfast’s most prime buildings.
The sale of Obel 68 to Belfast Harbour, which operates Belfast Port, also follows hot on the heels of 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.
Nicky Finnieston, Investment Director at Belfast-based Lisney commented;
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. We had interest from private investors, property companies, private equity and institutions which is a glowing vote of confidence for the Belfast office market.
The positive narrative around prime office space in Belfast continues to be buoyed by strong occupier demand and significant rental growth in recent years. 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.
Nicky Finnieston concluded;
We have seen investment volumes increase from £26m in the first half of 2017 to approximately £70m in the first half of this year, the sale of Obel 68 and Metro will help make sure that those volumes will continue to rise throughout the remainder of the year with the backdrop of increasing demand for quality investments from local and overseas investors.