Buyers found for former Belfast headquarters of two Stormont departments – The Irish News

Buyers found for former Belfast headquarters of two Stormont departments – The Irish News

The former headquarters of two Stormont departments in Belfast is set to be sold, raising millions of pounds for the public coffers.

The sale of the former Department of Infrastructure base at Clarence Court, Adelaide Street, and the Department of Economy’s Netherleigh House property has been agreed, a Department of Finance spokesman confirmed.

The sale was also agreed for the six-storey Victoria Hall building in May Street, which was used by the Department of Finance.

All three locations were put up for sale earlier this year.

The asset sale followed a major review of government property in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the hybrid working era, which supported a 40% reduction in public service office assets.

A for sale agreement sign on the “for sale” sign at the former headquarters of the Department of Economics, Netherleigh House. The site includes a 19th-century mansion and several office buildings. PHOTO COLM LENAGHAN

The buyers of the valuable publicly owned office assets have not yet been disclosed.

The 6.4-acre Netherleigh House site, which sits on leafy Massey Avenue residential estate next to the Stormont estate, sold for £5.75 million, while Victoria Hall was listed for £2.75 million.

No guide price was included for the eight-storey Clarence Court building, considered the most lucrative of the public service assets put on the market.

The 148,000 sq ft office building, which has its own multi-storey car park with 261 spaces, occupies an acre of Belfast’s best-known business district.

It was marketed by Lisney as an opportunity for renovation, reuse or remodeling.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that a sale has been agreed for Clarence Court in Belfast. A sale has also been agreed for Netherleigh House and Victoria Hall in Belfast. PHOTO COLM LENAGHAN

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is currently moving to James House on the Gasworks business park.

The DfI is believed to be aiming to vacate Clarence Court by the end of July.

The Department of Economy vacated the Netherleigh House site at the end of April 2023, moving its main operations centre to Adelaide House in the city centre.

However, Netherleigh’s 19th-century mansion and adjacent office buildings have been used for other purposes in the interim.

The former Department of Economy offices have been transformed into a PSNI station for the second series of the BBC’s popular drama ‘Blue Lights’.

Behind the scenes of the second season of Blue Lights, which was filmed inside Netherleigh House in August 2023. PHOTO: Christopher Barr (BBC/Two Cities Television)

In an interview with Time Out magazine, Blue Lights co-creator Adam Patterson compared the old Stormont offices to “a LEGO house”, saying: “We could break up corridors, film with much more depth and follow the characters like in The West Wing.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Finance also confirmed that the former social security office in Cookstown was sold in April 2024.

The sale of the Fairhill Road property comes eight years after its closure was first proposed.