The Heron & Brearley Group has signaled its latest and most visible commitment yet to the revitalisation of the North Quay in Douglas after it held a topping off ceremony at its Douglas and Clarendon site.
The 21,000 square feet development on North Quay brings together two landmark and historic sites – the refurbished Douglas Hotel and the former Clarendon Hotel – to create a four-storey building providing retail and office space.
At the ceremony Minister for Economic Development John Shimmin MHK, H&B senior management and contractors heard H&B group chairman Jonathan Clague say: ‘The Douglas and Clarendon represents one of H&B’s most ambitious investments in the Isle of Man…As an existing and substantial investor in the Douglas quayside rejuvenation, our aim has been to contribute to the quayside’s evolution in a unique attraction for Douglas. Our vision with this site, as well as with The Bridge, The British and The Railway, has been to present developments which are entirely in keeping with the quayside’s maritime heritage.’
Due for completion this summer the building will have as its anchor tenant the Manx worldwide yacht, aviation and wealth management specialist, ICM, which has taken the upper floors for its corporate headquarters.
Welcoming ICM Mr Clague said: ‘Like H&B ICM are major employers with a proven long-term commitment to our Island. ICM celebrate 30 years since their founding and it is particularly satisfying for me to begin what I hope will be a long and fruitful partnership between our two Manx companies.’
Commending H&B’s investment Minister Shimmin said: ‘H&B is one of the largest private employers in the Isle of Man and is continuing to invest at a time when others are fearful. You are a valued partner.’
Mr Shimmin went on to say that the development’s location would benefit both H&B and its anchor tenant, ICM. It was an investment that sent out a ‘very optimistic’ message of confidence the Department of Economic Development was keen to endorse and support.
ICM director David Jackson said he was delighted that the company’s expansion had coincided with the development which would now serve as the group’s headquarters and provide space to accommodate future business growth. ‘The Isle of Man is definitely where we want to be,’ he said.
About the Douglas and Clarendon site:
The site was once known as Lords Hill and the Douglas Hotel’s original cellars are believed to have been built around 1560.
After the North Quay was constructed in 1730, the plot was leased to a merchant from Ulster, Robert Black, who built himself a house known as ‘Black’s House’. This later became the Douglas Hotel.
In 1783, it was sold to the Duke of Athol who even took up residence in the house. Later, the site was redeveloped as Numbers 49 and 50, North Quay – the latter becoming the Clarendon Hotel.