The sod was turned on a new €3m Content Creation Enterprise Hub at the Wicklow County Campus in Clermont, Rathnew on Thursday
The Content Creation Enterprise Hub will provide 10,000sq ft of private and co-working spaces and aims to boost job creation in the sector and spin out services feeding into these industries.
It is intended to support content creation and will complement the film industry, with a particular focus on businesses servicing productions happening in Ashford Studios and Ardmore Studios.
The Hub will also offer a collaborative social space, conference centre, podcast studio and screening facility along with access to a range of existing meeting rooms and training facilities on the larger Clermont campus.
The project will include the courtyard buildings, the second floor of the existing campus building and the chapel, which will be refurbished and renovated. It will also include a newly-built two-floor extension to the courtyard buildings.
Funding of €1.43m was secured under the Government’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund. The remainder will be matched by Wicklow County Council.
Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Clr Pat Kennedy, said: “I’m pleased that the development of the courtyard buildings into an Enterprise Hub for the content creation sector at Wicklow County Campus is taking another step forward towards its development.
“This hub will support our unique audio-visual industry, which was hard hit by the lockdown, to internationalise and grow and will be a very welcome addition for the businesses working in and supporting this sector. This project is good news for the development of the campus as a centre of excellence in education, innovation and job creation, and shows the commitment of the council to develop the campus in partnership with other agencies”.
Mr Frank Curran, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, said: ‘We welcome the announcement by the Minister of the approval of our application. This is a really positive development for Wicklow County Campus. It’s also positive for the future growth of a strong local screen industry. Stakeholders and development agencies as well as training providers in this sector have been widely consulted and are extremely supportive of this innovative project.”
He added: “Wicklow County Council has a close relationship with the film industry. We have Ardmore Studios and Ashford Studios based in the county and a lot of production takes place in the county. It’s an important economic driver and globally the demand for content is growing. The Wicklow Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has been working with small providers so we know how important the industry is and how many are feeding into it.”
The works will include the alteration and refurbishment of the courtyard cottages and their conversion to office use. It is further planned to upgrade the courtyard storage outbuildings, including re-slating and improvements to the roof structure and demolish redundant farm outbuildings to the north of the courtyard to facilitate construction of new two-storey office building with main entrance to the Enterprise Hub.
The site has the capacity for further development in the future to expand the Content Creation Hub in time.
Construction is expected to commence in Q1 2021 and it is intended to launch the hub in Q2 2022.