Sketrick House, a £3.3m extension to Ards Business Centre that could create over 100 new jobs, was officially opened last week by Denis Rooney, chairman of the International Fund for Ireland.
The high specification offices in Sketrick House on Jubilee Road are the most recent in a series of investments by Ards Business Centre and provide over 20,000 sq ft of work space.
The International Fund for Ireland donated over £800,000 towards the scheme, with additional funding from Ards Business Centre and Ards Borough Council through the European Building Sustainable Prosperity Programme managed by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment.
Speaking at the official opening, Denis Rooney, said: “It gives me great pleasure to be at the opening of Sketrick House, Ards Business Centre. The fund has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Ards Business Centre. Creating conditions where businesses can flourish and grow continues to be a key area of activity for the fund.
“Ards Business Centre staff have proved they have the experience and expertise to support and nurture businesses as they establish themselves and grow.
“I’ve no doubt that this new building and the workspace provided will add further to the economic success in this local community, fostering entrepreneurial activity and stimulating the growth of both new and established businesses.”
John Ritchie, chairman of Ards Business Centre, said: “This is one of the most exciting developments for many years in this area. Since 2001, Ards Business Centre has helped to start over 800 businesses throughout the council area.
“Central to this success have been the working relationships developed by the centre’s staff and board, its tenants and funding partners.
“Sketrick House provides high quality office-type workspace. These units should appeal to new and existing technology and knowledge and service based businesses.”
Mr Ritchie said the design, which includes office suites and conference facilities, will encourage inter-company collaboration and networking opportunities.
“In the current economic downturn, this facility reinforces the major contribution being made by local enterprise agencies across Northern Ireland and confirms the importance of enterprise agencies to our policy makers in their search for solutions,” he said.
With the addition of Sketrick House, Ards Business Centre is now able to provide local businesses with 80,000 sq ft of lettable space, with the potential to employ over 250 people.