68 potential investors are still keen on Ebrington site


Ilex says over sixty enquiries from a range of organisations interested in setting up shop at Ebrington are still live as the firm pushes for outline planning permission for the whole site by the summer of 2014.

At the beginning of the year 68 enquiries were still extant for the former military and naval barracks.

And of these sixty per cent had been formally expressed in writing to the Londonderry urban regeneration company.

The Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) provided the information to SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood who asked who was interested in investing in the prime city centre site.

The OFMDFM Ministers advised that investors from the cultural and creative media sector and from the retail, services and commercial sectors were also interested in the site.

Investors in food/beverage outlets and residential property were also enquiring.

Of the 41 formal written expressions of interest, a majority of 68 per cent were received from private sector investors.

“As of December 31, 2013, Ilex had 68 live enquiries from a range of organisations including private sector, community and voluntary sector, and public organisations in relation to establishing operations on Ebrington,” the Ministers stated.

“From this total of 68 enquiries, Ilex received 41 formal written expressions of interest, of which 28 are from the private sector,” they added.

Last year Ilex’s ‘cultural broker’ revealed there had been “some initial interest in a potential hotel development at the clock tower.”

However, he said it had also been proposed as “a regional cultural facility.”

Planning approval for a bar and restaurant has already been approved for one part of the site.

However, work on such a development in the Cunningham Building - facing onto Ebrington Terrace - pends the completion of the underground car park next door.

A new development framework for Ebrington is currently in train with Ilex aiming to achieve outline planning permission for the whole site by the summer of 2014.

Following extensive public consultation Ilex recently compiled a draft Development Framework and said it thinks Ebrington can support approximately 2,400 jobs (not including construction jobs) and lead to additional GVA of over £40m.

The framework outlines a range of different scenarios for the site but suggests the Clock Tower - whatever ends up there - will be a focal point.