Ilex chair Philip Flynn says the launch of a new creative hub at Ebrington which already sustains 41 jobs across 16 tenant companies is the latest in a series of ongoing developments at the site, which will include the opening of a new café in November and discussions with six further companies interested in a further seven buildings.
Mr Flynn was speaking at the official launch of Eighty81 on Friday.
The hub, which is managed by Blick Studios, was officially launched by Acting First Minister, Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness.
Mr Flynn said: “I congratulate Blick Studios and welcome the tenants of Eighty81 to Ebrington.
“The creation of 41 jobs to date across the 16 tenant companies is very encouraging, particularly as the Hub provides such a flexible work space suited to the creative industries.
“Today’s launch is very significant for the development of the 26-acre site which is seeing significant progress this year.
“The Walled City Brewery opened in May, Eighty81 in July and Café Ollie will open in late November.
“We are in discussion with six other companies who are interested in a further seven buildings and in early 2016 we will seek formal expressions of interest in a hotel development.
“All of these plans will be facilitated by outline planning permission which we expect to be announced in the coming weeks”.
Christine James, Blick Studios said: “The transformation of two late Victorian buildings into a state-of-the-art, flexible work space has made Buildings 80/81 a very attractive proposition for small businesses.
“Blick provides affordable shared workspace for small and start up creative and digital businesses and, as a creative industry environment, Eighty81 is second to none. “When we sought expressions of interest from potential tenants, it was an easy sell and demand outstripped supply. I am pleased to say that we are operating almost at full capacity and are in negotiation with one final tenant”.
Mrs Foster said: “The Northern Ireland Executive recognised in its Programme for Government that Ebrington had the potential to be a driver for regeneration and economic growth in this City. “Today is the next phase in the re-development of important historic buildings on this site and the creation of new jobs.
“I am delighted the Creative Hub at Eighty81 now has 41 jobs created within the creative media and technologies sector.
“I welcome that more than 100 jobs are expected to be based here by the end of 2015/16.
“This offers a real opportunity to build upon the momentum and bring economic and social rejuvenation to the city of Londonderry and the wider region”.
The Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA said: “The opening of this creative hub resulting in over 40 jobs and plans for another 60 on the site within 2015/16 sends out a clear signal we are not only open for business but ‘pro-business’.
“Ebrington has reconnected the site with the City and offers a platform for social, economic and cultural regeneration. Blick Studios and the tenants of Eighty81 have grasped this opportunity and we thank them for their commitment and wish them every success for the future. The £2.4m capital budget to be spent on the site in 2015/16 will provide further impetus and help drive forward and develop Ebrington.
“Together we can regenerate and revitalise Ebrington bringing much needed economic benefits to the entire North West”.