A €3m investment is planned to redevelop a business campus for the north-west at the iconic 112,000 sqft former MBNA offices in Carrick-on-Shannon, which employed 1,200 people at its height.
Leitrim County Council’s Carrick Business Campus aims to capitalise on the pool of financial services talent in the region.
More than 22,000 sqft of the building is being redeveloped into Grade A co-working office accommodation for companies with more than 10 employees, as well as a flexible landing space for new FDI clients or businesses seeking a second base.
The campus is already home to 200 Avant Money employees, who occupy a quarter of the 20-year-old building and provide financial services to clients throughout Ireland.
“I’m proud to say that over two-thirds of our workforce is located at the Carrick premises, many of whom have been employed with the business for 20 years or more,” said CEO Niall Corbett.
And it will be a gamechanger for the region according to the first two companies to join Avant Money.
Former MBNA employee Margaret O’Rourke Doherty runs Image Skillnet, a dedicated national network for supporting the Irish beauty and hair sector with subsidised, tailored training.
“We had been looking for months to find anything in the post-start up space. and anything that was available would have involved a large capital investment,” said Ms O’Rourke Doherty.
“It’s just brilliant to be able to mix with people from other companies in the canteen, and have break-out areas and boardrooms on tap.”
Payac is a managed services company that supports credit unions in offering a wide range of daily banking services. Their 10 Carrick-based employees now occupy a space that will hold 30 people if required.
“The double drawing points for us were the financial services talent pool in the area and the building itself,” said CEO Seamus Newcombe.
“The building is completed to a standard that allows us to operate at the highest capacity, while also being a very bright and pleasant environment to work in.”
The gradual loss of the bulk of the MBNA jobs over three or four years was devastating for the area and had a long-term impact on midweek trade, according to Colm McGrath, President of Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce.
“However, from 2010 we have seen companies moving and expanding here in the knowledge that there are experienced and qualified financial services employees available. This campus will underpin that and re-establish Carrick as a hub for the north-west.”
Leitrim County Council is confident that the available local skill base will lead to a cluster of similar companies in the turnkey fully-serviced campus.
“We recognised that there was a pressing need in the north-west for ready-made spaces for the next growth stage after start-up,” said Leitrim County Council chief executive Lar Power.
“This high-quality building had been vastly underutilised but the developments to date, in conjunction with the plans for future development, will act as an economic development generator for Leitrim and the north-west region as a whole, both of which are strategically important to us.”
The overall €9m investment in this building is supported by Rural Regeneration Development Funding, and is a new departure for Leitrim County Council, who describe it as a significant investment in the future of the area.