Carson McDowell advises Northern Ireland Investment Fund in £20m Loan

10 May 2018

Carson McDowell has acted as legal advisor to the Northern Ireland Investment Fund in completing its first investment in Northern Ireland. The £20m loan to Oakland Group along with additional private sector funding, will finance the new nine-storey Merchant Square redevelopment in Belfast’s city centre. The development will create 227,000 sq ft of retail and office space incorporating smart building technology with an emphasis on the provision of “green” working space. Lawyers from the banking, real estate, planning and construction teams in Carson McDowell advised CBRE on the funding arrangements.

Commenting on the transaction Sinead McGrath, partner and Head of Banking at Carson McDowell said: “Carson McDowell is delighted to have advised the Fund on the loan made to Oakland Group in connection with the Merchant Square project which will create new jobs and deliver some of the most up to date Grade A office space available in Belfast city centre.”

Andrew Antoniades, senior director, CBRE Investment Advisory, said: “We are excited to be getting the Fund off to a fantastic start, well ahead of forecast. Making such a significant investment is a statement showing what the Fund is about - supporting regional growth whilst delivering exceptional leverage, outputs and returns for the Fund. We are well progressed with other exciting schemes within and outside Belfast and remain very much open for more applications”.

The loan is the first investment of the Northern Ireland Investment Fund, a £100m fund provided by the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and managed by CBRE's Investment Advisory team, part of CBRE Capital Advisors. The purpose of the fund is to focus investment in the areas of regeneration, office and low carbon projects to deliver economic growth

Hugh Widdis, permanent secretary, Northern Ireland Department of Finance, added: “Today’s announcement of the Merchant Square development sees the first project investment from the £100m Northern Ireland Investment Fund. This first project loan demonstrates the Northern Ireland Investment Fund’s positive impact and future potential in terms of facilitating private sector-led regeneration here. I look forward to further announcements in the time ahead on project loans being confirmed to stimulate additional economic growth and jobs”.