Business Editor Gary McDonald
July 08, 2021 01:00
BELFAST digital tech giant Kainos will temporarily lease its Bankmore Square site to a social enterprise, which is proposing to open an independent retail and street food market in September.
Box Office, a nod to the cinema history of the Old Movie House and Dublin Road, will host a group of independent food vendors and retailers in shipping containers, giving start-ups an opportunity on an otherwise prohibitive market.
And any rent received by Kainos will in turn be donated to charities supporting people experiencing food poverty.
Kainos – who made a profit of Â£ 57million last year and increased its global workforce to over 2,000 – says he remains committed to expanding his new headquarters in Bankmore Square, with plans to build three years which should start in 2022.
But in the meantime, he wants the site to be temporarily used in a positive way, which is why he entrusted it to Will Neill, founder of social enterprise Box Office, to host his ethical pop-up street market.
Will said: âBelfast is an exciting booming city, and having a space like this to showcase the best of our restaurant and retail start-ups will be fantastic for tourism and the local community. We owe our thanks to Kainos.
By emphasizing sustainability, supporting small businesses, and committing to ensuring a living wage for all staff, the Box Office project aims to provide a place for the community to come together, promoting strong messages of environmental and social unity.
While waiting for construction to begin on its new headquarters next year, Kainos said he would use the time to engage with his employees and customers to better understand his future office needs.
In the meantime, he has renovated his existing Upper Crescent office to provide a collaborative workspace for those who wish to work in an office environment.
Kainos Managing Director Brendan Mooney said: âIt is important to us that as we plan our future that the Bankmore Square site is temporarily used in a positive way, so we are delighted to support this initiative.
“This reflects our broader commitment to sustainable development, ensuring that we have a positive impact on the environment, society and our local communities.”