07/03/2008

Work Begins On £2.9m Belfast Enterprise Centre

Construction has started on a £2.9 million enterprise development in East Belfast, with the potential to create over 90 new jobs.

The Economy Minister, Nigel Dodds announced the construction of the new five-storey enterprise building, at CityEast, today. The development, scheduled for completion in early 2009, has a hi-spec office-level finish, providing 68 flexible workspaces for small businesses.

Visiting the site today, Mr Dodds said: "This development provides an important opportunity for small companies to build their businesses with the support of East Belfast Enterprise. The plans for 68 workspace units will help create jobs in the local area and stimulate economic growth and entrepreneurship."

The project will be part-funded to £1,082,500 by the European Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (Peace II) provided through Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, (DETI) and up to £842,000 from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI). The balance will be funded by East Belfast Enterprise.

East Belfast Enterprise Chairman Mervyn Hempton, welcomed funders to the site. He said: "These new enterprise offices and workspace in East Belfast will have a regenerating impact in the area; it will create jobs for local people, and supplier opportunities. The new centre will be well placed in an area of high unemployment thus creating an opportunity for local jobs for local people."

Sited on land near the junction of Newtownards Road, Middlepath Street and Short Strand (the former Kwikfit site) was originally acquired by the Department for Social Development's Belfast Regeneration Office as a gateway to East Belfast. The specification for the development required community regeneration impact, given its key location in a deprived area and on an interface. East Belfast Enterprise submitted a proposal to meet the specifications for the project and was subsequently selected as the preferred developer. It has since purchased the site from the Department for Social Development and secured the additional funding to complete the project from IFI, the European Programme for Peace and Reconcilliation, and from its own resources.

(VB/JM)

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