independent

Sunday 24 February 2019

Plans for Arklow data centre unveiled

TD Andrew Doyle, Raymond Gaffney and TD Pat Casey
TD Andrew Doyle, Raymond Gaffney and TD Pat Casey
Echelon Data Centres COO Graeme McWilliams and CEO Niall Molloy.
The planned stages of Phase 1.
The site this week.

Deborah Coleman

The company behind the proposed new data centre for Arklow launched the project this week and announced that it is expected to be operation by March 2021.

Echelon Data Centres Limited, owned by Aldgate Developments, is to develop the centre at the former IFI site at Avoca River Park.

The site was sold for €10m through Arklow agent Raymond Gaffney and it is expected that the construction phase will create 450 jobs followed by another 90 positions to operate the facility.

Planning permission for the Arklow project is said to be imminent and, once approved, will see a 484,000 sq ft campus with a 100MW capactiy developed on the outskirts of the town.

Echelon, at the same launch event, announced plans for a second data centre to be constructed in Clondalkin.

Niall Molloy, CEO of Echelon Data Centres, said that the provision of customisable, scalable data centre facilities is key to the continuing growth of the digital economy, driven by social media, ecommerce, digital broadcasting and the internet of things.

'We're thrilled that work to build Echelon's first data centres has commenced. Between our two sites in Clondalkin and Arklow, and other sites that we are in the process of identifying and acquiring in Ireland, the UK and Europe, Echelon will become one of Europe's biggest data centre providers,' he said.

'What this major investment means for Ireland is the creation of many high quality jobs. The development and operation of these two sites alone will provide employment for 1,100 people through a capital investment of €1bn which will enhance and support Ireland's growing tech ecosystem.'

The announcement is the first significant one of its kind for Arklow since the economic downturn and there is much optimism within the community that this signals that the fortunes of the town have finally turned. According to TD Pat Casey, the centre is the symbol of a 'new era' for Arklow.

'The old IFI site which began construction in the 1960s and at its height in the 1970s employed more than 1,500 people, eventually closed in 2000 and has been a symbol of the lack of regional job growth not just in Arklow but in south Wicklow. This is the perfect industry to be located at this site as there are limitations as to the type of development that can take place here and there are crucial infrastructural benefits such as grid connection and its location near the N11 only an hour's drive from Dublin Airport. This development by Echelon is the beginning of a new era of industrial development and jobs for Arklow and I am delighted to have been of assistance in getting this project to this crucial state. This is one of the reasons why I entered national politics and I am determined to see this project benefit jobs and commercial activity not just in Arklow but throughout south Wicklow,' he said.

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