The Laganside Corporation issued a development brief for 62 – 68 Donegall Quay and subsequently selected a consortium comprising KARL Properties, MAR Properties and Greenfarm Developments.
The consortium proposed a mixed-use scheme comprising a 26-storey residential tower, eight-storey hotel (144 rooms) and seven-storey office building. Due to high demand for apartments the plans were revised to replace the hotel element of the scheme with a further 49 apartments. The residential tower was increased in height by 5m to 85m – creating an extra two floors.
Charles Brand Ltd began construction on the basement structure in January 2006 and completed in early 2007. Following construction of the basement no construction work took place on site throughout the remainder of 2007.
During 2007 Karl Properties purchased fellow consortium members MAR properties and Greenfarm Developments stakes in Donegall Quay Ltd – the consortium company established to develop the Obel.
O’Hare McGovern were appointed to build the Obel structure and work on site recommenced on the week beginning 16th June 2008. Construction involved the erection and operation of a 106m specially designed tower crane from August 2008 to June 2010. The 106m high tower crane (6m below basement) was dismantled by a 350 tonne mobile crane and required 16 flatbed trucks to transport the crane segments offf site.
On completion of the Obel in late 2010 the mixed-use project comprised a 28-storey residential tower (Obel 62 / 233 units), eight-storey residential block (Obel 64 / 49 units), seven-storey office block (Obel 68 / 49,000ft2), five ground floor commercial units (12,000ft2) and two basement parking levels (267 spaces).
All office space was let to Allen & Overy in early 2011 and following a £2.5m fit-out undertaken by Blackbourne Integrated M&E the offices were occupied in July 2011.
In October 2011 a cafe (Fed & Watered) opened within one of the ground floor commercial units.
In November 2012 administrators were appointed to Obel Ltd, Obel Offices Ltd and Donegall Quay Ltd – the three firms which control the Obel development. The main firm, Donegall Quay Ltd, owed the former Bank of Scotland Ireland (BoSI) more than £51m according to accounts filed in 2011.
New York based Marathon Asset Management acquired the Obel development for more than £20m during early 2014.
Obel 62 (the tower) received a £2m refurbishment during 2016. The work included refurbishment of communal areas and installation of a solar window film by Solartek Films Ltd.
A portfolio of all 26 studio apartments (fully let) on floors 1 – 3 of Obel 62 were released for sale in March 2018 with offers over £2m invited by Lisney.
Obel 68 was placed on the market during May 2018 with offers invited in excess of £15m. Obel 68 comprises a 7-storey (52,169ft2) building over basement, ground and six upper floors. There is 49,860ft2 of office accommodation (let to Allen & Overy (SSF) Ltd until September 2031) and 2,309ft2 of ground floor retail space (let to Mount Charles (NI) Ltd until Sept 2021 and Lagan Boat Company until Oct 2021).
Belfast Harbour acquired Obel 68 (office building) from Marathon Asset Management during summer 2018.