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 the early 1930s.
Donegall Place Investments Ltd owned the building from at least 2004 until a company controlled by Mr J. 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 planning application (LA04/2019/0714/F) in March 2019 proposing to refurbish the building for office use at 1st – 4th floor, cafe use at ground floor, restaurant use in the basement and 1no. apartment at 5th floor. The application was approved in November 2019.
MJM Pearl Ltd and RMI Architects submitted a planning application (LA04/2022/0178/F ) in December 2021 proposing to convert the basement and ground floor to restaurant and cafe use and refurbish the upper floor office accommodation.