Business

Henry Brothers awarded £30m contract to build 'Factory of the Future' in Co Antrim

The £100m Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is one of the flagship projects of the Belfast Region City Deal

Artist's impression of the £100m AMIC due to be built at Global Point Business Park in Co Antrim by Henry Brothers.
Artist's impression of the £100m AMIC due to be built at Global Point Business Park in Co Antrim by Henry Brothers.

A £30 million contract to build the Queen’s University-led Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Co Antrim has been awarded to Co Derry construction firm Henry Brothers.

One of the flagship projects of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD), the £100m ‘Factory of the Future’ has been conceived as a collaboration between academia and industry, based at Invest NI’s Global Point Business Park in Newtownabbey.

Planning permission was granted for the 113,000 sq ft factory in May.

The Magherafelt construction firm expected to be on site in the Spring of 2024.

The AMIC plans to be operational from the factory by 2026, with capacity for 150 staff.

Queen’s say it “will reinvigorate Northern Ireland’s industrial potential and address the future technology and skills challenges faced by the region’s manufacturing sector”.

The university’s partners for the project include Ulster University, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council as well as private industry.

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The factory has been backed by Stormont and the UK Government, with London contributing £80m.

The business case for the AMIC estimates it will have contributed more than £1 billoon to the economy by 2050, potentially supporting 1,500 jobs.

Professor Sir Ian Greer, president and vice-chancellor of Queen's University, said: “Queen’s vision as a civic university and a Belfast Region City Deal partner is to create tangible impact where it truly matters.

“We are determined to drive societal progress for generations to come through delivering three Innovation Centres in advanced manufacturing, clinical research and secure, connected digital technologies.

“Connecting our underpinning high-quality research with industry, government and the manufacturing sector will turbocharge our region’s capabilities and embed a culture of innovation to act as a driver for increased productivity.”

Artist's impression of the £100m AMIC due to be built at Global Point Business Park in Co Antrim by Henry Brothers.
Artist's impression of the £100m AMIC due to be built at Global Point Business Park in Co Antrim by Henry Brothers.

Professor Stuart Elborn, interim provost and deputy vice-chancellor at Queen’s, said the AMIC will help create jobs by supporting local companies to be more competitive on a global scale, attract new investment and provide the skills needed for the future.

“Through city deal we are committed to delivering inclusive growth benefits right across Northern Ireland in terms of productivity, jobs and skills and for the AMIC project we’re delighted to be working with Henry Brothers, a company which shares this ethos,” he said.

Henry Brothers was recently recognised at The Irish News Workplace Employment Awards for the firm’s contribution to sustainability.

The contractor’s managing director, David Henry, said: “As one of Northern Ireland’s leading construction companies, we understand how important facilities like these are in addressing the industry-wide skills shortage.

“Having previously delivered the redevelopment of McClay Library and David Bates buildings at the University, we have an established relationship with Queen’s that we look forward to building on.”