A German company that was one of Londonderry’s largest employers is behind plans that will see a massive £40m health hub on the site it once occupied.
Artnz Belting Company was based in Pennyburn for more than four decades before it finally shut up shop in 2010 with a promise that it would create a legacy project.
Architects have drawn up detailed plans for a 75,000 sq ft multi-use healthcare facility on the site, which will be at the core of a wider plan to create up to 400 jobs in the long term.
The owner of the design company behind the plans — McGurran Associates Ltd — said the development of the site will be a “flagship project for the cityside”.
Kevin McGurran said: “Our client, Artnz Belting, is very excited about this project and although it is still at an early stage, the amount of support it has been given has been well received.
“The Health Hub, which was originally designed to cover just 15,000 sq ft, is now 78,000 sq ft and will occupy around one quarter of the 14-acre site.
“There is nothing like this on the cityside and this will be a flagship project which we are very positive will secure the necessary support. Our client is eager to get moving, the site is ready, the money is in the bank and we hope to get this to the next stage of public consultation quickly.”
A similar project was agreed by then health minister Michael McGimpsey a number of years ago for the Rosemount area of Derry, but for reasons unknown it failed to get off the ground.
Rosemount Resource Centre was one of the main drivers behind that project and yesterday the centre’s manager Tommy McCourt welcomed the Artnz plans.
Mr McCourt said: “I am very pleased that a health hub of this size is to be included in the plans for the Artnz site, because it will be of benefit to the people of Rosemount who lost out on the centre they had been promised.
“We still don’t know what happened to those plans; the plans and the funding had been approved by the health minister at that time, Michael McGimpsey.
“We had been in consultation with the developers of this site about the possibility of creating a health hub of a similar size to that planned for Rosemount and I am delighted to see the developer has revised their original proposed health centre from 15,000 sq ft to this larger building.”