€21m Shannon scheme underway

Major redevelopment at Shannon Free Zone

Shannon Group has started work on a major redevelopment programme at Shannon Free Zone aimed at making it more attractive for inward investment and job creation.

The first phase of the works, valued at €21 million and due to take two years to complete, includes the redevelopment of a 12-acre site in the zone where three former manufacturing buildings of 27,871sq m (300,000sq ft) have been demolished.

A planning application is due to be lodged shortly for a 3,716sq m (40,000sq ft) Grade A office block and a 2,787sq m (30,000sq ft) advance technology manufacturing unit for part of the 12-acre site.

These two new buildings have a combined cost of over €10 million and should support more than 250 construction-related jobs.

Other important projects in the first development phase include a 6,225sq m (67,000sq ft) technology manufacturing facility at Shannon Free Zone East. This is estimated to cost €6 million and development is already underway.

In addition, work on a €4 million upgrade and development of a 9,290sq m (100,000sq ft) warehousing unit adjoining Shannon Airport lands is set to start later this year.

Meanwhile, the €1.3 million refurbishment of a 5,203sq m (56,000sq ft) office and warehousing facility in Shannon Free Zone West is complete.

The first phase is part of a five-year programme by Shannon Group's property company, Shannon Commercial Properties Ltd, to deliver a stock of advanced manufacturing, warehousing and office space solutions to help the State's development agencies to attract new business to the airport and free zone.

Also included is the upgrade of Shannon Group’s existing core property assets.

Ray O’Driscoll, managing director of commercial properties at Shannon Group, says that Shannon Free Zone is home to 120 companies in a diverse range of activities.

“It has been a huge contributor to the local economy since it was established in 1959 and this first phase of what will be a major, ongoing investment programme will bring these facilities, many of which were constructed prior to 1990, up to 21st-century standards. This is imperative to attracting major investment and jobs to the area.”

Last September Shannon Airport, the property portfolio of the former Shannon Development (Shannon Commercial Properties), Shannon Heritage and a new entity called the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) came together to form Shannon Group. It is owned by the State and has a commercial mandate.

Its first priority was to stop the decline of Shannon Airport and grow traffic: passenger numbers are up from 1.4 million in 2013 to 1.64 million in 2014 with European traffic increasing dramatically by 70 per cent.

Shannon Group is now embarking on its second major objective: to bring its property portfolio up to standard.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe says Shannon Group has "clearly hit the ground running" since its establishment last autumn and its latest development programme is a "hugely important piece in the jigsaw for the region".