Northern Ireland’s Workplace 2010 delayed again
Northern Ireland’s massive outsourcing Workplace 2010 initiative has been suspended until next year because of the potential controversy and confusion if the two short listed parties Land Securities Trillium and Telereal merge.
Trillium is one of the final bidders on the more than £1bn Workplace 2010 project, along with William Pears Group-owned rival Telereal.
However, Telereal, which is backed by the Pears family, is also in exclusive talks to buy Trillium for up to £1.4bn.
The Department of Finance and Personnel said ‘This decision has been taken as a result of continuing speculation that both bidders could come under common ownership, which has the potential to affect the Workplace 2010 procurement. The suspension (until early 2009) will also give the department time to assess the impact of recent changes in the financial and property markets’.
It said any merger between the two parties could mean that taxpayers may lose out.
The initiative will see the outsourcing of the province's 3.8m sq ft civil service property portfolio. The first phase of the outsourcing project, Workplace 2010, involves 80 buildings totalling more than 2.7m sq ft. The estate's annual running costs are around £90m.
Workplace 2010 tried to fast track the process in June as it had already been subject to lengthy delays as a result of legal action by one of the underbidders Partenaire.