The Saint Patrick’s Barracks site is currently the focus of an exciting regeneration plan for Ballymena involving Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and others. This 37-acre brownfield site formerly a Ministry of Defence facility is attractively located close to Ballymena town centre and the partner ambition is the develop it as the focal point of a new ‘innovation district’ encompassing the significant town centre assets
The Department for Communities in Northern Ireland (DfC) is leading on the Regeneration Masterplan and has recently completed the site clearances and is funding a new spine road through the site at a cost of several million that is due to start in 2021. Other planned investment includes;
- Radius Housing are due to start construction of 136 number new mixed tenure residential units and related landscaping and infrastructure in 2021 representing an investment of some £20m on a 12-acre site
- A small parcel of land has been allocated to the Northern Regional College to facilitate their new education campus at Farm Lodge that is due to open in 2024 and costing circa £34m.
- Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been allocated approximately 10-acres to develop the new i4C innovation centre, leisure centre and related public realm and events space. The i4C innovation centre is presently being progressed under the Belfast Region City Deal and is scheduled to open in 2024 and will provide office accommodation, labs and workshops and a range of enterprise and innovation supports for SME’s and local industry.
- The plans for the remaining one third portion of the Saint Patrick’s site have still to be fully finalised with DfC lands presently earmarked for both public and private sector led developments.
As identified the evolving partner vision is to develop it as part of a wider smart and sustainable ‘Innovation District’ in Ballymena. This involves designing and integrating high quality built and natural environments, by utilising smart digital technologies to help manage the site and the buildings on it, using renewable energy sources and green technologies for heating and transportation and linking the new developments at Saint Patricks to the wider assets that are the town Centre, NRC campus, Ballymena Showgrounds and the Ecos parkland.
Council is keen to hear from potential partners and investors with an interest in the remaining development opportunity sites or interesting in partnering in developing a wider innovation district.
- Access to Michelin Development Fund providing grants for international companies setting up in the area with a viable expansion proposition to create sustainable jobs;
- Strong manufacturing track record in the area, including access to existing manufacturing supply chain and skilled labour;
- Mid and East Antrim ranked No.1 in Northern Ireland for processing planning applications. On average 7 weeks processing time, well within the NI target of 15 weeks;
- Wrap-around business support programmes available through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council including: business growth mentoring, planning policy advice and support, skills academies and a property investment programme;
- Invest NI business growth support programmes including access to mentoring, financing and export markets;
- Strong links with academic institutions including Queens University, Ulster University and industry focused Regional Colleges.