First Minister, Arlene Foster MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MLA today announced their agreement to sell Shackleton, the former military base at Ballykelly, to MJM Group.
MJM Group plans to create over 100 jobs initially on the 621.5 acre site and provide a range of facilities benefitting the local community.
Welcoming the sale, First Minister Arlene Foster said: “I’m pleased to confirm we have agreed to sell the Shackleton site to MJM Group.
“This site which was gifted to the Executive under the Agreement at Hillsborough Castle, presents a unique opportunity for MJM Group to maximise its potential.
“MJM plans for Shackleton include a private jet and rail carriage fit out facility, renewable energy and the company’s own IT service centre and facilities management services which will create over 100 new jobs.
“With NI Water’s plans to develop part of the Site for an Integrated Constructed Wetland and DARD’S plans for its new Headquarters, the entire Site will soon be brought back into use by the new owners. At a time when our manufacturing sector has had a number of disappointing announcements, this is a good day not just for Ballykelly but for the manufacturing sector of the wider North West.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “Today is the start of the next chapter of the Shackleton story. The successful company MJM Group is a local company with global ambition.
“This investment will deliver huge social and economic benefits for local people. It may be the first private investment on the site but I am sure it will not be the last. MJM Group will now develop the site so some of the other initial sale proposals could well be part of their plans depending on commercial discussions and negotiations.
“A key aspect of MJM’s proposal was its commitment to providing significant community benefits, including a refurbished community building and outdoor recreation facilities. The site will now be accessible and become an important part of community life. The combination of private investment alongside DARD’s new headquarters bringing 600 jobs will be the economic injection the North West needs.”
Jarlath Quinn the Group Chief Executive said: “We are delighted to have been the successful bidder to purchase this 600 acre former military site in Ballykelly.
“We will endeavour to develop the site by establishing a number of new business ventures on the site such as a facility to refurbish and fit our private jets as well as having a specialist fabrication business on the Shackelton site and therefore creating significant employment in the local area.
“Other business ventures under serious consideration by us are the creation of one of the largest solar panel plants in Europe with the development of a 60MW Solar Farm at a cost of £60million.
“In addition MJM Group could also continue to facilitate the use of the site by film crews and would accommodate other business proposals from interested parties to help further develop the site to help achieve its full potential.”
Brian McConville the Group Chairman added: “We believe our proposal clearly stated our initial plan was to create a 100 jobs on site however it is my vision that at Ballykelly there will be at least 1,000 jobs on this site once it is fully developed as the opportunities that it will present are enormous. Our proposal also demonstrates significant benefits that will be attractive to the local community as a result of the MJM proposal to develop the site over the next number of years and also highlights the environmental benefits which arise as a result of this proposal. This is indeed a very historic day for MJM and our management team.”
With MJM’s financial offer to purchase the Site for £1million, and revenue generated from the sale of the rest of the Site to NI Water and DARD, the Executive will have £1.5million to reallocate to meet other financial pressures.