Wexford County Council is taking a pro-active approach to economic development, with the aim of attracting significant new business investment and jobs to the county. The next few years promise to be very exciting ones for the county, when much of a 200 million euro capital programme that Wexford County Council has been developing will begin to come to fruition.
“We have taken a serious look at our County”, begins Chief Executive of Wexford County Council Tom Enright, “and we have developed a range of strategic responses aimed at making Wexford a highly competitive location for business start-ups and longer term growth”.
Having previously identified a shortfall of large-scale modern office accommodation and good quality industrial property available for sale / lease across the county, Mr Enright goes on to say, “we decided as the local authority to step into the property development market to counteract this shortfall – partnering with the private sector to deliver those types of property solutions that we know are in demand and that we know can deliver longer term benefit to Co Wexford.”
In three short years, Wexford County Council has indeed made significant progress in this regard.
In Wexford town they have acquired the Trinity Wharf site; a 10 acre, sea-ward facing site, located less than 700m from the main street and where there is now concept stage plans to develop a high-end business park, focused on developing an Internationally Traded Financial Services hub. The estimated €60million euro development will see approx 100,000 sq ft of office accommodation developed ove time, together with a marina and boutique hotel along with some residential housing. Most recently, the local authority appointed Scott Tallon Walker architects to develop a masterplan for the project and wider quay area. “In addition to developing the Trinity Wharf business centre, Wexford County Council will also be spending €3-4 million on a Quayfront refurbishment project in Wexford town – which includes reimagining the pedestrian experience of the town and ensuring the overall urban landscape is connected”.
In New Ross, Wexford County Council working with the local Chamber, have secured planning permission for two advance factory units and plan to commence construction on at least one of those later this year, most likely the larger development, which is a 25,000 sqft unit. Mr Enright further adds “We know from our dealings with IDA Ireland, that if we have high quality industrial units of this scale in place in the county, we will certainly attract more business and jobs to the county. Again, our ambition is to work with the private sector to bring this €4million development online for the benefit of New Ross and wider county area”.
The Local Authority also recently supported a submission by Gas Networks Ireland to the Commission for Energy Regulation to seek an expansion of the gas network into New Ross. Should the multi-million euro extension proposal be successful, it would greatly expand the industry types that would consider the town for future investment.
“In Enniscorthy, we’ve bought a 24-acre site just south of the town. There are two existing Wexford-based companies who have significant expansion plans and each of those are examining taking up to 5 acres on that parcel of land for their own developments. We have had so much interest in Enniscorthy in fact, that we are in the process of purchasing an additional 15 acres to expand the scale of this new Science, Technology and Business Park.” The local authority expects the estimated €10million development to commence with ground-works on-site as early as autumn 2017.
“Enniscorthy’s €45 million flood relief project will be in place within three years’ and will be of great benefit to the town. The proposed new bridge in Enniscorthy will be sited directly across from the new Park we’re planning, so it will bring the development from the town centre, making it easily accessible from all directions.”
The first project that is nearing completion and which will begin to deliver additional jobs into Wexford before the middle of 2017 is the M11 Business Campus. “In Gorey we have partnered with Redmond Construction to build the first in a series of 3 possible buildings in the newly established M11 Business Campus. We are really excited to take up occupancy in the first 36,000 sq ft office building in the Campus, located adjacent to the Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey. With Innovate Technologies as the anchor tenant, we are confident a grade A building such as this will attract lots of interest from expanding businesses.” Says Mr. Enright.
Estimated to have cost in the region of €10million to develop and with a location just 50minutes south of the M50, the local authority is confident that the north Wexford business campus will become increasingly attractive as commercial property and residential property pressures increase in Dublin. Mr. Enright adds “IDA Ireland has placed the Gorey site in their portfolio of office space and is beginning to market the opportunity internationally. We are really hopeful that this will bring some good results for Wexford and Gorey in particular”
With the first building now at practical completion stage, handover to new tenants for fit-out is expected after Easter. In addition to supporting the overall development, the local authority has also taken a lease on a substantial pod on the ground floor within the building.
Mr Enright explains the local authorities’ ambition for this space “Our plans for the 5,500sqft pod have been finalized and a technology & innovation space for new and emerging businesses and entrepreneurs will open its doors within a few short months.
The Hatch Lab development will provide both hot-desking and longer lease-desk options for start-up businesses and those commuters who are looking for an alternative working-from-home option. More than this however, The Hatch Lab will set a vibrant and ambitious tone for the M11 Business Campus – and the local authority is foring a number of exciting partnerships in support of this operation, which we are highly confident will ensure The Hatch Lab will meet the needs of our target sector and will bring an additional investment in the region of €3million into the area.”
Other key projects that form part of the 200million euro package of investment being led by the Local Authority will include the development of 6 Greenways around the county, the urban regeneration of Enniscorthy town centre, the development of the Market House in Gorey and the completion of an Adventure Park in Carrigfoyle, Wexford. The package of projects we are progressing is certainly ambitious, but…”, as Mr Enright concludes “it’s a much needed injection of capital investment into a county that will reap significant rewards for these efforts”.
Wexford County Council has a dedicated team dealing with start-ups along with existing and expanding businesses that are considering investing in Wexford. The team offers support and advice around property solutions including ready-to-go office developments; build-and-design options plus services to assist in streamlining planning applications, which have the potential to create jobs in the county. The service is available to all businesses; if you would like to discuss an expansion of your business or moving your business to Wexford, please feel free to get in touch. For further details see www.investwexford.ie