Belfast Telegraph

Ex-barracks could become home to multi-million data centre building

By Emma Deighan

Part of the former home of Shackleton Barracks could be converted into a multi-million pound data centre development, it can be revealed.

Newry-based O’Callaghan Planning has reportedly submitted plans for a 25,000 sq m building which, if approved, will see the demolition of existing structures on the site.

A public information event, outlining the plans, will take place on July 5 at the site.

Newry firm, MJM Group, bought the 621-acre Shackleton Barracks site in Ballykelly back in 2016 for £1m, with plans to use it for fitting out planes.

It is also one of six regional hubs bidding for part of the construction of Heathrow Airport’s new runway.

While the company wouldn’t confirm details of the plans, a company spokesperson said: “We’re at a very early but exciting stage in the planning process. We hope to discuss this further with the local community during the consultation period”.

To date, plans which have already been approved for the site include film crew accommodation, facilities and studios.

And a three-storey building was also approved as the new home for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), in what will be the biggest decentralisation of civil servants here.

Earlier this month, some of the DAERA team were relocated to the new offices.

When MJM purchased the Shackleton Barracks site, it said that it would be used for a variety of “other business ventures” including a technology centre and news of a proposed data centre is in keeping with those initial plans.

MJM Group is a world leader in marine fit-out services.

The company combines design services and specialist joinery and manufacturing to deliver cruise fit-outs.

In April it brought the Azamara Pursuit vessel into Belfast for a complete refit at Harland and Wolff.

The ship, which is part of the Azamara Club Cruises fleet, a global brand of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd, is currently undergoing a complete interior refurbishment. It is set to be completed in August.

And last year, MJM Group opened an office at “the heart of the cruise industry” in Southampton.

The company was founded by Brian McConville, who is now chairman of the business and this year it celebrates its 35th anniversary.

To mark the milestone, MJM Group has launched ‘MJM at 35’, a year-long programme of events and activities “which will recognise our people, partnerships and position in the market”.

Belfast Telegraph

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