Titanic Island secures refinancing deals to continue redeveloping Titanic Quarter

The Premier Inn at Belfast Titanic Quarter is part of the 26 acres of developed land at the site.

Titanic Island, the firm behind Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Ireland, reported a loss of £1.3 million in 2016 due to “challenging” conditions in property development and the impact of impaired property values. However, the company has claimed that it is geared up for the future after securing two refinancing deals, Belfast Telegraph Digital reported.

Following the deals, Titanic Island said it has a "solid financial platform" to continue restoring the area, which has offices, a Premier Inn hotel, apartments, Titanic Belfast, the Public Records Office Northern Ireland, Belfast Metropolitan College and other entities. 

The company's refinancing began after Ulster Bank sold its loans. Now, Titanic Island is borrowing £44.7 million from Danske Bank and £27.8 million from Bottin BV, which is run by Irish businessman Dermot Desmond. Desmond has agreed to own 50 percent of Titanic Quarter as part of the deal. One of Desmond's firms has invested £28.7 million in Titanic Island. 

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According to accounts, the firm's revenue totaled £10.5 million in 2016, slightly below the £11 million from 2015. Meanwhile, the firm's group operating profits totaled £2.6 million, before an aggregate revaluation loss of £1.5 million. 

Image: Amanda Slater / CC By-SA 2.0: The Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices will be converted into the Titanic Hotel Belfast. 
Nick Reid, EC of Titanic Island, told Belfast Telegraph Digital that the refinancing will allow the company to continue developing projects in Titanic Quarter. "This will include further commercial, hotel, residential and tourism projects," he said. Only 26 of the site's 185 acres have been developed so far.  

Titanic Island has been working on multiple projects in Titanic Quarter during the refinancing. It has been renovating the former Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices, which will be converted into the Titanic Hotel Belfast opening in September. Now that the firm has the financing it needs, it will begin constructing Olympic House, a £30-million joint venture with Belfast Harbor Commissioners, later this year. The firm is also currently evaluating proposals from hotel developers to acquire a hotel project site at Hamilton Dock in Titanic Quarter.

"The group and its shareholders are committed to progressing further development in Titanic Quarter in the near term," Reid said. "Once complete, these developments will further contribute to the positive impact of the Titanic Quarter on the local economy and on the infrastructure of Northern Ireland." 

After a legal battle over the development of the land in 2016, Titanic Quarter and Belfast Harbor settled through mediation. Belfast Harbor is the landlord of Titanic Quarter. The firm has constructed office buildings in two phases in its City Quays as it opened film studios in the North Foreshore.

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