The Northern Ireland Executive has said that the planned transfer of the Ebrington site to Derry City & Strabane District Council will now not take place until next year.
The government had previously stated responsibility for the 26-acres site would pass to the local authority sometime during 2017, but a new provisional date of March 31, 2018 has now been confirmed.
Negotiations with interested parties for all buildings and land at the former army base are now ongoing. In December last year the then First and deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and the late Martin McGuinness, announced plans to construct high quality office accommodation above the underground car park at Ebrington. The £5m, 62,000 sq. ft. project building would accomodate up to 500 people in high-spec, grade A offices and would help transform Ebrington into an economic hub.
A NI Executive spokesperson confirmed this project was still on track. She said: “The tender process for the development of Grade A office accommodation is ongoing.
“The Executive Office anticipates that this will lead to the appointment of a preferred developer in the Autumn, with completion of the building in early 2020.”
Commenting on the plans for a 144-bedroom hotel within the flagship Clock Tower and neighbouring buildings, she added: “There are ongoing legal discussions with the developer of the Clock Tower, buildings 63 and 79. It is anticipated that a planning application will be submitted shortly following a successful public consultation process. Delivery of the hotel remains scheduled for mid-2019.”
She added: “A Project Board has been established to take forward the transfer of the Ebrington site to Derry City and Strabane District Council in line with the Ministerial announcement in October 2015. A plan for transfer has been agreed by the Project Board with a proposed transfer completion date, subject to completion of a detailed due diligence process, of 31st March 2018. Staff in the Executive Office continue to work closely with council officers.
“Following the conclusion of the most recent marketing exercise all buildings and land within the Ebrington site have a potential occupier and/or developer. The business case and legal documentation processes are at various stages for each of these and are commercially sensitive. The Executive Office is confident of formally completing several of these this year securing significant investment from the private sector; creating short term construction jobs and new long term sustainable jobs.”