Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, has welcomed the announcement of an £8 million investment at Galgorm Castle Estates which will create over 60 full-and part-time jobs in Ballymena, at an event this morning in Ballymena’s Braid Centre.
Galgorm Castle Estates Developments, Ballymena, which, currently consists of Galgorm Castle, a courtyard housing twenty businesses and a championship golf course; today announced its investment which will see the estate expand even further.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “This significant investment is just the latest in a series of investments in Ballymena and demonstrates the faith that indigenous businesses like Galgorm Castle Estates have in Northern Ireland. The business centre on the estate has already attracted international firms including, an American engineering company and a South Korean software company.
“Galgorm Castle has the potential to become an even bigger economic asset to the Ballymena borough, and the planned developments to the Castle, Courtyard and new Garden Centre will help drive visitors to this historic site and create welcome job opportunities in the area.
“Just last month I announced that Galgorm Castle Golf Club was hosting the Northern Ireland Open Challenge, an event which will bring around 30,000 spectators to the course. The combination of a superb golfing product, together with the new garden centre and restoration work to the Castle, will make it an even more attractive proposition for tourists.”
The Estate’s expansion will consist of three phases which will include the development of a garden centre, a courtyard business centre and essential restoration of the Castle itself. The first phase is now underway.
Delegates at the event, which included local elected representatives and private business owners, were addressed by Christopher Brooke, Galgorm Castle. He said, “Our investment is entirely privately funded and clearly displays our faith in the future growth and prosperity of Ballymena. We believe that through these developments, we can raise international awareness of Galgorm, Ballymena borough and Northern Ireland and attract further foreign direct investment into the area. We hope this provides a welcome boost for business in Ballymena.”
It is anticipated that the garden centre will attract in the region of 80,000 visitors a year, with the restored castle, which has been central to Ballymena’s history for 400 years, predicted to be a major asset and tourist attraction for Ballymena and its surrounding areas. In addition to attracting local companies, the courtyard will continue to market to international companies who are interested in establishing offices in Northern Ireland.
Mr Brooke continued, “Alongside this major investment, we are also currently working on a number of exciting projects, particularly, as we look forward to the Northern Ireland Open Challenge presented by Clannah & XJet. Ahead of this premier international golf event which will be held at the Galgorm Castle Championship Golf Course late summer and attract approximately 30,000 visitors to the region, the clubhouse is receiving a £250,000 facelift. This refurbishment will include plush changing facilities, relaxation areas and a contemporary balcony area for bar and restaurant guests. The course has not been forgotten with substantial works planned including two new bunkers, three new tee boxes, paths, tree thinning and drainage.”
Also speaking at the the event was Ballymena Mayor PJ McAvoy. Welcoming the investment he said: “This is a strong vote of confidence in Ballymena and its surrounding areas. Ballymena is a thriving place to do business, and recently we have seen many success stories coming out of the borough. For that reason, this investment is important for both Ballymena and Northern Ireland.”
“Galgorm Estates has been built up over generations and over this period of time, I am glad to say has sustained an excellent relationship with both local businesses and Ballymena Borough Council. The Council is proud to work with such as prestigious business that is not only stimulating both the local jobs market but also the wider economy.”