The Ocean Buildings (now known as Pearl Assurance House) was designed by Young & Mackenzie Architects in the gothic-style for Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation Ltd. The building was built in red sandstone by Robert Corry at a cost of £30,000 between 1899 – 1902. WH Stephens provided QS services, Winter & Thompson carried out the stone carvings and Ward & Partners provided the stained glass windows. Ratner Safe Co. Ltd of London supplied and installed large secure vaults in the basement (reportedly still inside the building).
By 1922 the Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corporation only occupied the ground floor of the building. The newly formed Northern Ireland Government acquired the entire upper floor of the building in 1922 to accommodate the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry relocated from the building by c1930 and …. various businesses.
Donegall Place Investments Ltd owned the building from at least 2004 until a company controlled by John Miskelly acquired the building in October 2007. The building was placed into receivership in 2015.
MJM Pearl Ltd acquired the building in October 2015.
MJM Group and RMI Architects submitted a listed building planning application (LA04/2019/0484/LBC) in March 2019 proposing to refurbish and extend the existing building to create a restaurant and cafe space across basement, ground and mezzanine floor, office accommodation at 1st to 4th floors and change of use of the 5th floor to create an apartment.