Category: News

Strong 2018 Performance creates more than 100 new jobs at Connswater Shopping Centre

Alfred Street Properties Ltd, owners of Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, has today announced that a strong performance in 2018 has supported the creation of more than 100 new jobs at the complex. Footfall in the scheme has grown significantly from 1,910,862 in 2017 to 2,412,717 in 2018. A range of new retailers including Tim Hortons, Savers, Sports Direct, Brand Max, Pro Mobile and Sky Stand opened their doors in the last twelve months with the creation of 105 jobs.  


Total retail area take up is 31,453 sq ft of which 28,355 sq ft is in the shopping centre.


Laura McCarthy, property asset manager of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said:              

“The success of the scheme has provided a fantastic boost for the local economy through significant job creation and we know that more than ten of the positions created are in management roles. We also attracted many firsts for Northern Ireland in Brand Max, The Range and the Tim Hortons’ drive thru. We have started 2019 in a positive position and we intend to continue to build on this momentum as we move forwards.”

“Despite a challenging retail environment Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park has continued to perform extremely well, with a range of new retailers all coming to the scheme for the first time in the last year. As landlords we have continued to invest in the overall customer experience. The Complex is now a thriving retail destination which continues to experience growing footfall from a wide demographic of shoppers.

Kurt Eastwood, surveyor at CBRE, said:

“Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park is a great example of what can be achieved when retailers identify and utilise prime location to market their offering.

“The substantial increase of footfall which was attracted by the opening of The Range at the end of 2017 lead to an influx of new brands seeking to secure lettings at the growing scheme.

“Food & beverage and fashion & lifestyle have all been bolstered by the openings of Brand Max, Sports Direct, Savers and Tim Hortons and we expect another exciting year at Connswater in 2019.”

Tim Hortons® Confirms Opening Date for First Northern Ireland Drive-Thru

Tim Hortons®, the iconic Canadian coffee chain, will open a new restaurant at Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park on 12th December 2018 following an investment of £750,000. 

The new restaurant will create 50 jobs, a combination of full-time and part-time.

The Connswater location will be the second Tim Hortons® restaurant to open in Northern Ireland, and the first Drive-Thru. The first location, on Fountain Street, opened to great excitement in May, with 300 people queuing around the block to be among the first to taste Tim Hortons’ famous coffee and donuts.

The Tim Hortons®  brand was founded by its namesake, a top professional ice hockey player, who wanted to create a space where everyone would feel at home. Fast forward to 2018, nearly eight out of 10 cups of coffee sold across Canada are served at Tim Hortons® 1  restaurants and more than 5.3 million Canadians – approximately 15 per cent of the population – visit the café daily.

Laura McCarthy, senior property asset manager of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said: 

“We are very excited that Tim Hortons will be opening its first Drive-Thru in November Ireland at Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park in the run up to Christmas. We have already seen how popular the chain is in Belfast and we know that it will be a great addition to our growing retail, food and beverage and leisure offering.”

Kevin Hydes, Chief Finance and Commercial Officer of the Tim Hortons® franchise in the U.K. said: “When we opened our first Belfast Restaurant in May, we were completely blown away by the excitement and the wonderful welcome from the people of Belfast. We are now thrilled to be opening our first Drive Thru site on Connswater Retail Park and can’t wait to open our doors.”

Belfast office block becomes first in the north to receive international digital certification

A GRADE A office building in Belfast has become the first in the north to receive an internationally recognised certification for its digital connectivity.

The Linenhall on Linenhall Street, owned by Killultagh Estates, has achieved gold-level certification from commercial real estate and technology firm WiredScore, following ongoing improvements to the building’s digital infrastructure.

The10-storey office block follows in the footsteps of other high-profile buildings to receive the sought after rating, including The Adelphi and the Brunel in London, as well as George’s Quay Plaza and One Dockland Central in Dublin.

Brendan Boyd, director at Killultagh Estates believes the WiredScore certification demonstrates a commitment to respond to occupier demands and needs in the Belfast office market.

“Great connectivity is core to the tenant experience, and by becoming the first developer to achieve this certification, we believe that we are setting a benchmark across other grade-A offices in the city,” Mr Boyd said.


William Newton, president at WiredScore hopes in the city will soon follow the example of Killultagh Estates.

“Digital connectivity has become an integral decision-making factor for businesses looking to move into new space. With Belfast on the rise, attracting both local and international tenants, Killultagh Estates has become a pioneer in the city by being the first to adopt Wired Certification,” he said.

Killultagh Estates is keen to implement WiredScore ratings throughout other buildings within its portfolio, including its new ten-storey grade-A office development, to be located at 5 Donegall Square South in Belfast city centre.

The scheme, which is awaiting planning approval, is set to offer 116,000 sq ft of Grade A open plan office space and provide space for over 700 employees.

With plans for this development to become the first building in Northern Ireland to achieve platinum-level WiredScore certification, it would replicate properties including LinkedIn’s headquarters in Dublin and Bishopsgate, London.

Belfast’s office market is currently enjoying its most successful year on record with take-up in 2018 set to reach close to 1 million sq ft, with a number of high-profile lettings completed.

David Wright, office agency director at CBRE added: “The office sector in Northern Ireland has flourished in 2018, and we expect this trend to continue into 2019 given the number of requirements for space in the city.

“A WiredScore rating for grade-A buildings, such as The Linenhall, makes their offering more compelling to both existing and future tenants.”

In October Belfast recruitment agency, Honeycomb announced it has acquired the fourth floor of The Linenhall as part of ongoing expansion plans.

The boutique agency is to take 1,800 sq ft of space in the office block after moving from its previous premises in the Scottish Provident Building.


Source: Gareth McKeown, Irish News

Brand Max Opens First Northern Ireland Store at Connswater Shopping Complex

Alfred Street Properties Ltd, owners of Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, has announced that Brand Max has opened its first Northern Ireland store at the complex.

Brand Max has taken the anchor space vacated by Dunnes Stores in a 22,000 sq ft unit opposite The Range.

Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park has experienced a resurgence in the last year, with a string of retailers confirming plans for new stores.

Tim Hortons®, the iconic Canadian coffee chain, will open its first Drive-Thru restaurant in the retail park in early December while Savers also opened its 20th Northern Ireland store in Connswater Shopping Centre last month.

Laura McCarthy, senior property asset manager of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said:

“We are very excited to reveal that Brand Max has arrived at Connswater Shopping Complex and it has opened in time for the busy Christmas season. We are delighted that the brand has chosen our centre as the location for its first Northern Ireland store and we have no doubt that the news will be welcomed by our shoppers.

“This is an extremely challenging time for retail but despite this we have managed to introduce three new brands to the complex in recent months. This is further confirmation that the scheme has turned a corner and significant changes made to date have been having a positive impact for our customers and the retail trade. Today’s announcement is great news not only for the scheme but for east Belfast and the local economy as well.”

Sports Direct Confirms Pre-Christmas Opening at Connswater Shopping Complex

Alfred Street Properties Ltd, owners of Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, has today announced that Sports Direct will open a 4,500 sq ft store at the complex in mid-December.

Founded in 1982, Sports Direct International PLC is the UK’s largest sporting goods retailer, and operates a diversified portfolio of sports, fitness, fashion and lifestyle fascias and brands.

This is one of several notable deals to have taken place recently at Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park including the opening of Brand Max, Savers Health and Beauty and Tim Horton’s drive-thru.

It follows the opening of national home, garden and leisure retail chain The Range in 2017, which created 80 new jobs in a 55,000 sq ft anchor unit.

Laura McCarthy, property asset manager of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said:

“This year has been exceptional for Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park and we are delighted to finish on a high with the arrival of Sports Direct opening on 12th December. We know that this is a very popular retailer and our customers will welcome the opening in the run up to Christmas. It is also a great boost for the local economy.

“Since the opening of The Range at the end of last year there has been a substantial increase in footfall by 50 per cent to the scheme and we have continued to build on that successful momentum throughout 2018. We are looking ahead to next year with optimism and we continue to explore opportunities to improve and diversify our offering.”

A spokesperson for said:

“We offer something for everybody and we’re very proud to be opening a store in a great location like Connswater Shopping Centre.

“As we continue to grow throughout the UK, our ethos has never changed in that we offer our customers the biggest brands in all types of sportswear, footwear and sports equipment at low prices.”

Recruitment agency secures Grade A office move to kickstart expansion at The Linenhall

Honeycomb, Northern Ireland’s only boutique agency specialising in the recruitment of administration and business support professionals, has secured new Grade A office premises in Belfast city centre.

The firm has acquired the fourth floor of The Linenhall on Linenhall St in the city centre. The development is a 10-storey Grade A office block with a basement carpark comprising 10,000 sq ft. The fourth floor covers c.1,800 sq ft.

Mairead Scott, Managing Director at Honeycomb said: “Since our inception in 2017, we have experienced unprecedented demand from the market, and are working with a diverse spectrum of clients, ranging from local SMEs to global corporate giants.

“This office move will allow us to facilitate significant growth internally, and further expand into new sectors and territories. With a high number of contracts wins in the past six months especially, we are on track to double our headcount by the end of 2019.”

David Wright, Director at CBRE commented: “This is fantastic office move for Honeycomb that demonstrates its intent and commitment to continued growth and investment.

“It is also very encouraging for the Belfast office market, as it showcases the demand for high end, good quality office accommodation in Belfast city centre in the 1,500 to 3,000 sq ft bracket.

“Whilst the Belfast office market in Q3 was relatively quiet when compared with the very strong first half of 2018, total take-up for the year to date stands at 644,000 sq ft and we are anticipating a good finish to the year with a number of deals agreed and in legals.”

Laura McCarthy, Senior Asset Manager at Killultagh Estates added: “We are thrilled to secure yet another high-quality tenant in Honeycomb at The Linenhall. They are a welcome addition to the other first-rate occupiers already residing at the development, including CBRE, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Companies House, Cunningham Coates, Malcolm Hollis and John McKee & Sons Solicitors.”

Savers Health and Beauty to open at Connswater

Alfred Street Properties Ltd, owners of Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, has today announced that Savers Health and Beauty will be opening a new store at the complex this week, creating 12 new jobs. 

The 5,000 sq ft unit will bring the total number of Savers stores in Northern Ireland to 20, with four in the greater Belfast area. 

Savers, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, specialises in branded health, home and beauty products at everyday low prices, stocking a wide range of hair care, personal care, oral care, household cleaning, fine fragrance, toiletries, health care, skin care, food, drink and alcohol products.

Laura McCarthy, senior property asset manager of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Savers to Connswater Shopping Centre in what will be another great addition for the scheme just in time for the peak Christmas period. Connswater has turned a corner in the last year, offering a revitalised customer experience with a great selection of retailers to choose from.

“Since the opening of The Range in December 2017 we have seen footfall increase by 20-25 per cent and we are pleased that retailers like Savers recognise that this is an excellent shopping destination.”

“We are looking forward to opening our Connswater Shopping Centre store on Friday 19th October. We chose this location because it is easily reached via local transport links and in a very lively and vibrant area.

“This store will be a great addition to our existing three shops already open in Belfast. We have created 12 new positions with the store opening, which have been filled, and we are hoping that there will be more available in the future. We will be holding a store launch celebration event on our opening day and we look forward to welcoming everyone along.”


Tim Hortons to Open at Connswater

Alfred Street Properties is delighted that Tim Hortons has chosen to open its first Drive-Thru in Northern Ireland at Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park. This is further confirmation that the scheme has turned a corner and significant changes made to date have been having a positive impact for our customers and the retail trade. Today’s announcement is great news not only for the scheme but for east Belfast and the local economy as well.


The Range announced as new anchor tenant at Connswater Shopping Complex

Alfred Street Properties Ltd, owners of Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, has today announced that the scheme is to receive a significant boost when home, garden and leisure retail chain, The Range, opens a 57,000 sq ft store at the complex later this year.


The retailer will create 80 new jobs when it opens the doors to its anchor store in Connswater Shopping Centre. The new store will represent an investment of £2m by The Range, with a further £1m investment being made by the landlord. It is anticipated that The Range will be the catalyst to increase footfall at the centre to 100,000 per week.


The Range is currently going through a period of mass expansion and growth, with the UK retailer now operating over 140 stores across the UK and Ireland. The success of The Range is a mark of the entrepreneurial leadership of Devon-based owner and founder of the firm, Chris Dawson.


He began life as a market stall trader across the South West of England before opening his first store in 1989 in Plymouth, under the name CDS – Chris Dawson Superstores – and has grown the company at an impressive rate since.


The new store in Connswater Shopping Centre will offer quality products across 16 departments including; DIY, Arts & Crafts, Homewares and Furniture, all at great prices. The store will include a large outdoor garden centre providing a wide selection of plants, aggregates and much more to spruce up the garden. It will also have a family café selling food and drink at affordable prices.


Brendan Boyd, director of Alfred Street Properties Ltd, said: “We are excited to welcome The Range to Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park later this year. This is great news not only for the scheme but for east Belfast and the local economy as well. The Range’s arrival is further confirmation that the scheme has turned a corner. This is just one of several notable deals which have taken place recently. Starbucks opened its first ever Drive Thru in Northern Ireland earlier this year, Lidl doubled its store format opening in July and Home Bargains is also set to open a 20,000 sq ft superstore in the retail park in December in the previous Harry Corry/Lidl space.”


Chris Dawson, the owner and founder of The Range commented on the new store: “Opening a new store is always an exciting moment for the company and Connswater is no exception. It will be our third store in Northern Ireland following the successful launch in Ballymena in 2016 and Derry-Londonderry in June this year. The new store in Connswater is a great step in helping the business to progress and grow and we are really excited to continue our Northern Irish expansion in Belfast.”


Colin Mathewson, senior director, CBRE, who acted on this transaction, said: “We are delighted to have secured a letting of this major unit at Connswater with The Range. This will be their first opening in Belfast and represents a major investment by both landlord and tenant. The Range has become one of the fastest-growing retailers in the UK, and the fact that it has chosen Connswater to secure its first store in Belfast provides a major boost to the scheme.


“Connswater itself is experiencing a period of significant investment and regeneration, welcoming new tenants such as Starbucks and the recently upsized Lidl. We believe The Range will add real value to the retail offering in the area and enhance the ongoing transformation and remodelling of the site.”


Ryan Kee, director of retail agency at Lambert Smith Hampton, who act on behalf of the landlord said: “The Range is a fantastic addition to Connswater Shopping Complex and it is testament to the change in dynamic that the scheme has seen in the last year. With the deals that have been completed recently, alongside a large transformational project in the Retail Park, we have a strong pipeline of interest from other retailers. We look forward to adding to the offering in the months to come.”


Planning permission lodged for KH1 Business Park

Planning has been lodged for the KH1 Business Park, a 32-acre site located off the highly successful Knockmore Hill Industrial Estate.


This site was previously approved for 550,000 sq ft of light industrial and storage and distribution in 2010.


Killultagh Estates’ revised plans for 450,000 sq ft will modernise the previous approval and bring the building specs up to speed with the latest building regulations and live market requirements.

When less means more

Killultagh recently scaled back plans for a 10-storey office block in the heart of Belfast to nine floors, in order to alleviate Council concerns over the impact the scheme might have on the surrounding heritage assets.


The new block will occupy the former General Accident building at Donegall Square South, behind the City Hall. Commenting on the revised proposals, Richard Steenson, development director for Killultagh Estates said:


“ We are very conscious that given its location in the Linen Conservation Area, the development will occupy a site of special historic and architectural interest. We believe our new proposals will sustain and enhance their existing architectural context and contribute the the quality of the overall townscape. As a company, one of our core values is to create buildings that embody the very best in innovation and design, and that will create a legacy value for generations to come.”

Read More

Lidl’s Flagship store in East Belfast

Lidl have established a new enlarged store at Connswater Shopping Centre that will greatly enhance the shopping opportunities in the wider area.


Lidl, which currently operates 38 stores and employs more than 800 people across Northern Ireland, has replacied existing premises within the Connswater retail park with a new larger, modern fit-out it says will offer customers a ‘superior shopping experience’.


Connswater Shopping Centre is one of Northern Ireland’s longest established shopping centres. Completed in 1994, it is the dominant shopping centre in east Belfast, combining both mass market with a specific niche aimed at the value market.

Killultagh bringing new commercial life to Belfast City Centre

Killultagh Estates plans to revitalise a key area of Belfast city centre by replacing a vacant eight storey building with a new, ten-storey mixed-use property.


Brunswick House on Brunswick Street had been unoccupied for a number of years and had fallen into a poor state of repair when it was acquired by Killultagh Estates from the Trustees of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Killultagh is proposing to demolish the existing building and develop The Brunswick, a 10-storey office and retail building in its place. The proposed building will comprise 4,605m2 of lettable office space and approximately 455m2 of ground floor retail space. The application has now been approved, subject to conditions, by Belfast City Council’s Planning Committee.


By providing another high quality city centre development, The Brunswick will contribute to the Council’s Regeneration and Investment Strategy for Belfast and act as a further catalyst for economic development in the immediate area of Blackstaff Square.