Planning approval granted for £10m expansion of Urban HQ

30th March 2023

We are delighted to announce that Urban HQ has been granted planning approval for a second location in Belfast.

The new site at 46-52 Upper Queen Street, directly opposite its existing building at Eagle Star House, will create a nine-storey, Grade A office building with private office suites, meeting rooms, a roof-top wellness studio, members’ lounge and event space.

Since launching back in September 2020, Urban HQ has transformed the flexible workspace market in Belfast and this second site represents a further £10m investment in the area, and is expected to support 100 full time construction jobs during the build as well as expanding Urban HQ’s own team in the city to service the new building.

Urban HQ made the decision to expand after experiencing exceptionally high levels of demand for its first venture at Eagle Star House, a building that has been owned by the Walker family for over 20 years and was lovingly restored to bring big-city style workspace to Belfast.

Ryan Walker, Urban HQ Owner and Director: “Being able to bring this additional £10m investment into Upper Queen Street to sit alongside our existing building is incredibly exciting. This area of Belfast has undergone a significant transformation in recent years and as a local business, we are proud to be playing a part in the story of regeneration in the City. Once complete, the unique offering from Urban HQ will help attract the very best companies from around the world to Belfast and we are very much looking forward to getting started with the next chapter of the Urban HQ story.”

Jamie McCoubrey, Urban HQ Managing Director: “Demand for this standard of workspace has surpassed even our expectations, with more employers and business owners looking for an office environment that offers flexibility, quality in terms of design and service and green credentials that can help them meet their own environmental objectives and ambitions. We also know that employees are looking to achieve a stronger work-life balance and having amenities such as yoga and mindfulness classes, shower facilities and cycle hubs all help employers deliver that to them. Our team on the ground offers the very best service, and have been delighted with how well our first couple of years have gone.”

The buildings have been designed by LIKE Architects, an award-winning architectural practice based in Belfast whose strong environmental credentials will ensure the new project will be among the most energy efficient and environmentally sustainable flexible workspaces in Ireland. The new building will be the first and only new-build flexible workspace in Belfast.

Michael Martin, Director of LIKE Architects: “Given the success of Urban HQ’s current flexible workspace offering, we are delighted that planning permission has been granted on another landmark development in the heart of Belfast. Having been involved in previous schemes along Upper Queen Street, this building is sensitively designed to complement the current streetscape and is a positive sign for the office sector as Belfast looks to attract more businesses to the city centre.”

The design of the interior of the new building has been led by the same designers of Urban HQ’s Eagle Star House, Kingston Lafferty Design (KLD). KLD are an award-winning Dublin-based interior-design studio known for championing emotional wellbeing in its projects. The studio has created a space for the new development that follows the same high-level concept as Eagle Star House, a space that is not only functional but also enhances the well-being of its users.

Roisin Lafferty, Creative Director, KLD: “Our aim with the design of the new building for Urban HQ was to create a space that allows you to flow freely whilst being met by elements of surprise, keeping the space energetic with bold forms and maintaining the strong brand of Urban HQ’s recognisable personality from the Eagle Star House building.

There is a sense of intrigue upon arrival, with every space creating a variety of sensations with strong patterns, textures and rich palettes emulating the soul of the original design while introducing a new twist to the space.”

With planning now in place, it is hoped that work will start on site this year, with the new building expected to welcome new members in 2024.

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