Joint Director General of the International Fund for Ireland, Alexander Smith has officially opened a new £1.25m business centre in Kilkeel.
Situated at the Harbour, the business centre comprises 19,000 sq ft of specialist industrial units and office space.
The newly redeveloped Business Enterprise Park was supported by the International Fund for Ireland, the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (PEACE II), Invest Northern Ireland and Binnian Developments Ltd.
Only available for occupation from March 2006, three of the 13 industrial units have already been let to tenants with interest being shown from another three. The centre currently provides employment for 9 people and has a projected employment figure of 45.
Speaking at the official opening the Fund’s Joint Director General Alexander Smyth said, “We are delighted to have been able to assist with the redevelopment of Binnian Developments Business Enterprise Park. The three wards within Kilkeel have been independently identified as ranking highly in terms of deprivation and have low levels of economic and commercial activity. The development of the business park in a neutral space will enable Kilkeel to tackle social and commercial exclusion and marginalisation and contribute to the promotion of new business in the South East Down area.”
Howard Keery, Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment, said: “We can take great hope from what has been achieved in this community and the evidence that the impact of the decline in the fishing industry may be overcome. The Kilkeel area can look forward to a more sustainable, brighter future as a result of the endeavours of Binnian Developments Limited.”
Welcoming the opening of the new business centre, Bill Montgomery from Invest Northern Ireland said:
“We are looking to create a more enterprising culture and aim to enhance the quantity and quality of new business starts, whilst supporting the development of existing businesses in the area, particularly those focused on servicing external markets. This project further enhances the support infrastructure and in doing so will assist us in the achievement of these goals”.
Mr John MacMahon, the Chairman of Newry & Mourne Co-Operative Ltd & Enterprise Agency also welcomed the opening of the business park. “The Co-op together with our partners in Kilkeel Development Association (KDA) recognise the significant of this development in assisting new businesses in South Down. It also compliments our existing business park in Newry, Warrenpoint and South Armagh”.
Mr Ronnie Forsythe, the Chairman of KDA also praised the partnership approach. “The Binnian Partnership has been excellent and this facility provides a much needed boost to Kilkeel at a time when the traditional fishing industry is facing many challenges”.
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