Killyhevlin Business Centre
The previously vacant NI Water HQ at the Killyhevlin Industrial Estate is now well established as the Killyhevlin Business Centre, home to 29 businesses which have created over 50 jobs.
Apart from the tangible evidence of a thriving successful Business Centre, it is useful to reflect, as a learning process, on the decision and perhaps the wider impact of this development on economic development in the area.
Back in 2013, this was a derelict, overgrown site, abandoned by public sector reform and becoming rapidly dilapidated. The Fermanagh Enterprise Board however, whilst acknowledging the risks, recognised the potential. The following is a press release published in early 2014: Local Business Development Agency takes over vacant NI Water site in Enniskillen
The vision of the Directors has now been realised. The once derelict property has been transformed to a pleasant environment in which to do business. Green spaces, shrubs and landscaping, complements an area of ample carparking. Installation of ultrafast fibre to the desk, has attracted high quality technology businesses and a growing and popular restaurant, Café JD, offers the opportunity to relax and refuel.
We were fortunate to have been supported by our small business clients who have chosen to locate here. As already stated, the Centre is now 100% occupied and home to 29 businesses which have created over 50 jobs as well as a number of apprenticeships for young people leaving school.
This provides the vital rental revenues which are central to the sustainable business model of a business support Organisation such as Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd. The income generated has helped support our voluntary work in schools and the community, as well as subsided the cost of providing start-up and development support to other businesses and individuals.
Wider Economic Impact
Indeed, it may be that the refurbishment of the site has had a wider impact and has acted as a catalyst, building confidence and encouraging other private development of the surrounding area. There is no doubt that other properties around the Centre have been given a general lift over the past four years. Examples of development since the opening of the Killyhevlin Business Centre are:
- The former Cash and Carry site which was vacant, is now occupied by Electrical World, an e-commerce company with a global market. This firm is headed by John Coalter and as a start-up was based initially in Unit 48, Enniskillen Business Centre before outgrowing the space and moving to the present premises.
- Enniskillen Auctions have developed what was a vacant site and are now operating very successfully, drawing large crowds to the Estate.
- Push Fitness, a popular gym, has located in the next site – again this site was vacant back in 2013.
- Across from the entrance to our Centre, a previously vacant site has been developed and is the home of OHW Drinks. Again, this business started life in a Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd Unit before expanding and moving on to something bigger.
- Another nearby site which has been unused for a time, has been sold and will shortly be developed.
The Killyhevlin Business Centre proved to be the ideal setting for an innovative Business Information Event called Fermanagh Bizcamp. The format aimed to showcase some of the best in local business and to bring together Business Support Organisations and individuals and firms which could avail of help. Seminars on social media and digital marketing were included. The event was attended by 46 Businesses and Support Organisations together with 121 visitors.
The success of the regeneration of the Killyhevlin Business Centre has given the Fermanagh Enterprise Board of Directors the confidence, knowledge, experience and financial resources to identify another opportunity to address the combined challenge to the local economy of vacant buildings and job losses as the public sector move out of Enniskillen. Abbey House, the former offices of HMRC, was placed on the market and in line with the strategic plans of the Organisation and following a full options appraisal, the property was purchased in June 2018. In keeping with the Local Economic Development aims of the Organisation, the vision of the Board is to provide a catalyst for promotion of ‘New Economy’ opportunities in Enniskillen.
This is a project which does not compete with private sector landlords but instead offers something entirely new to retain and attract individuals and businesses operating in the high value ‘Information Age’ sector. The plan is to provide an innovative, flexible solution to accommodate the trend for co-working combined with the provision of more private offices.
The building will be finished to an appropriate level of quality and serviced by high speed fibre broadband. The project will facilitate the trend for more remote working and in the longer term, attract high earning individuals who can avail of the services and connectivity and work in Enniskillen for employers anywhere in the world.
Work is currently nearing completion and Fermanagh Enterprise Ltd is looking forward to opening this new facility in the next few months.