A newly-built, £2.9 million, five-storey office block, in East Belfast can help to stimulate economic growth in the local area.
Economy Minister Arlene Foster today laid the final brick at a special ‘topping out’ ceremony at the CityEast development, which will offer accommodation for up to 90 jobs.
The new offices are sited near the junction of Newtownards Road, Middlepath Street and Short Strand (the former Kwikfit site).
The 25,000 square foot building, which is due to open in Spring 2009, was developed by East Belfast Enterprise (EBE) and funded with EU Peace and Reconciliation funds, provided through the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI) and the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).
Arlene Foster said: “The £2.9 million CityEast development can help stimulate economic growth in a part of the city that was once the industrial heartland of Northern Ireland.
“The creation of 68 new hi-spec workspace units in East Belfast can have a regenerating impact in the area, providing the potential for the creation of 90 jobs, as well as encouraging local entrepreneurship.
“We are undoubtedly facing very challenging global economic conditions, in the short term at least. However, the Executive has made the economy a top priority, and I believe a key to maintaining a sustainable future for Northern Ireland is encouraging growth of local businesses here.”
Known as the ‘Gateway to the East’, the ‘CityEast’ structure stands in the shadow of the iconic
Harland and Wolff cranes, Sampson and Goliath, which dominate the Belfast skyline.
Denis Rooney, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be part of today’s ‘topping out’ ceremony and to see this enterprise building so far advanced. The Fund’s aim is to create the conditions where businesses can flourish and this project, with the potential to provide up to 90 jobs, is a perfect example of this.
“I’d like to acknowledge the generous support of our international donors, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, without whom we could not continue to fund projects like this.
“The new premises will have an enormously positive impact on the economic regeneration in this area and I look forward to the official opening of this building next Spring.”
Speaking at the ceremony EBE Chairman, Mervyn Hempton, said: “The completion of this impressive new five-storey office block in the shadow of the shipyard will herald the economic rebirth of East Belfast.
“This development will have a substantial impact as it will provide jobs for local people and office space to local businesses. This part of the city has seen some difficult years, and for some time there has been a lack of small affordable units on short term lease in East Belast. This development presents an opportunity to transform the Lower Newtownards Road into the economic hub of the city. We believe that a positive new future is about to emerge.”
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