Almac to take temporary tenancy at Ebrington Plaza
MYSTERY still surrounds who'll be the eventual anchor tenant at one of the north's newest speculatively-built office blocks as "commercially sensitive" negotiations continue between its owners and potential clients.
But The Irish News can reveal that pharmaceutical giant Almac will move in - at least temporarily - to part of the multi-million pound Ebrington Plaza development, currently under construction in Derry by Draperstown-based Heron Property Ltd.
The new block, which will provide around 62,000 square metres of space, was originally earmarked for technology giant Allstate, until it suddenly decided against locating a 400-seat office facility there.
There then followed speculation that a US financial services firm was considering locating to Ebrington Plaza, but that proved unfounded.
As a result, neither Heron Bros nor letting agents Lambert Smith Hampton have been responding to media queries around potential tenancies.
A spokesman for Heron would only tell The Irish News yesterday: “We are not currently able to make a comment regarding any tenant as we are still under construction.”
But Almac, which said in June that it wants to recruit at least 100 staff in Derry with a view to setting up a permanent facility in the city, confirmed it would now be using Ebrington Plaza.
In a statement it said: “Almac is very pleased to be taking on part of this fantastic building for the next 12 months.
“We have ambitious plans in the longer term to move to a permanent, purpose-spec premises in the area.”
And while the Craigavon-headquartered global contract development and manufacturing organisation didn't commit to Ebrington in the longer term, that is understood to remain a possibility.
At the time of that announcement, its chief executive Alan Armstrong said: “We are experiencing significant growth and have a need to support our many clients across the globe.
“Given the skills pipeline coming from Ulster University at Magee and Coleraine, combined with the excellent choice of workspace available in the Derry area, we have decided to explore this region as our next Almac location, and it is our plan to expand our reach and establish a base there.
“We are hopeful that, when word spreads about our expansion plans to the north west, we will be able to obtain the required numbers and quality of job applicants who are keen to join us and support our mission to advance human health globally.”
The Ebrington Plaza grade A office accommodation - which is in close proximity to Derry's newly-restored railway station - totals approximately 52,152 sq ft over four floors and 127 secure underground car parking spaces.