Grafton Relocates To The Boat
10 September 2010Ireland’s biggest recruitment company is bringing its international headquarters to a new Belfast building. The Grafton Employment Group is the first commercial tenant at The Boat on the north bank of the River Lagan. Grafton, which has 70 offices and operates in 16 countries, is taking almost 13,000 sq ft in The Boat – over one third of the total office space available. Its move has been welcomed as a positive sign that the commercial property market in Northern Ireland may be recovering from the effects of the general economic downturn.
The Boat is a 14 storey development which also includes 8 penthouse apartments and a restaurant unit on the first floor and ground floor, next to Custom House Square. Robert Ditty, of Letting Agents Osborne King, said Grafton is to occupy part of the ground floor, part of the first floor and all the second and third floors. Mr Ditty said "This is a major office letting in what has been a challenging marketing over the past few years. We view it as a further indication of a new found optimism and confidence that things are improving. To have secured a tenant with the standing of Grafton reflects the fact that The Boat undoubtedly offers some of the highest quality and most prestigious office accommodation available in Belfast today."
Cathy McCorry, Managing Director of Grafton Employment Group Ireland said "We are delighted to be opening our new global headquarters in this iconic building. The Boat reflects the innovative nature of our organisation and provides superb facilities for our growing business. The Boat rivals our offices in Prague, Santiago and Dubai for light, space and location – it is certainly the jewel in our crown. We look forward to moving in November."
Other prospective tenants are thought to be considering taking office space in the remaining accommodation of suites ranging from 1,400 to 8,000 sq ft. However, the nearby Obel, which has 27 floors, is still looking for its first commercial tenant. The Boat was designed by Todd Architects and was a pet project for partner Barrie Todd before his retirement. Mr Todd said "The building was not deliberately designed to resemble the form of a boat." As the design evolved the architecture took on a personality of its own. Soon architectural staff, followed by planning officers and then people in the street, were calling it "The Boat" and it stuck."