There are plans to turn a former IDA factory building on Carrick-on-Suir’s Pill Road into a regional “Innovation Centre” providing rate and rent free accommodation to new firms.
Mayor of Carrick-on-Suir Cllr Kieran Bourke and a number of business investors are in the process of negotiating the purchase of the former Sram factory building from its current owners for about €250,000.
Cllr Bourke, who is spearheading the project, said they are looking for more investors to become involved in purchasing the building.
“I firmly believe we are not going to get any hand outs from Government and the IDA. We need to help ourselves and this is a great opportunity,” he said.
He explained that once the 22,500 square foot premises is purchased he and the other investors plan to lease the building for a nominal rent of about €100 per annum to a “not-for-profit” voluntary community company for ten years.
This company would work to secure funding through bodies like South Tipperary Development Company to fit out the building into an estimated 10 offices and 10 light industrial units for start-up companies.
Cllr Bourke said it will cost about €500,000 to transform the building into the Innovation Centre. It’s proposed to secure €350,000 in grant aid and the remaining €150,000 as a loan from Clann Credo, a bank that provides loans to community and voluntary groups.
Cllr Bourke has personally pledged a loan of €50,000 towards the purchase of the building and drawn up a business plan for the Innovation Centre project.
He explained that he and the other investors plan to give the proposed not-for-profit company the option to buy out the building after ten years for the original purchase price.
Cllr Bourke pointed out that three new firms have already expressed an interest in locating at the Centre. Among them is a Drangan based wooden bicycle manufacturing firm and an IT research and development company that needs 3000 sq. feet of laboratory accommodation.
He estimated between 100 and 120 jobs could be based at the Centre when it’s fully operational. Start up companies based there will receive appropriate mentoring and supports and once they reach a certain size they will move on to other premises making way for a new start up firm.
Cllr Bourke said he envisaged the Innovation Centre serve will new firms in South Kilkenny, Waterford and other parts of South Tipperary as well as Carrick-on-Suir.