The First Minister is officially opening an innovative property venture in Campbeltown which has seen an Argyll building firm bring a former factory site back to life.
Local contractor MacLeod Construction Limited bought the site of the former Jaeger factory from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in 2010 and today (Tuesday 27 August) the RT Hon Alex Salmond MSP will formally open the Mull of Kintytre Industrial Estate which the company has completed.
Demand for the space has been high. The units have been fully let to a range of local businesses including MacMillan Foods Limited, Livingstone & McEachran Plumbers, Fone a Taxi, RTM Contracts and Kenneth Campbell – golf professional.
The project has been made possible with the support of a partnership between MacLeod Construction Limited and HIE. The agency provided £96,743 to the family-run building company through the Scottish Property Support Scheme.
An EU approved programme, it allows support for commercial property development where there will be a gap between the construction cost to the developer and the final value. Without support the development would be unviable. This is the first time the scheme has been used in the Argyll area.
The First Minister Alex Salmond said: "MacLeod Construction is a well-established family business and an important employer across Argyll. I'm very pleased that Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been able to support the business with this exciting new development.
"The level of demand for, and range of businesses occupying, the new business units is very encouraging and a sure sign that Campbeltown is on the up. I'm determined that, together with HIE, our other agencies and the local authority, the Scottish Government will continue to support business development in the town and throughout Kintyre, helping to create and sustain jobs and to strengthen the local economy."
The Jaegar factory closed in 2001 with the loss of around 160 local jobs. The building was deemed unsuitable for alternative uses and was demolished.
Douglas Cowan, HIE’s Area Manager for Argyll and the Islands, said: “We are delighted to see the site of the former factory back in use, and so many companies expanding and creating jobs locally. The closure of the factory was a huge blow for the region but the new units created are helping reinvigorate Campbeltown and the surrounding area. The Scottish Property Support Scheme is a model we would like to see used again as a sustainable way of supporting the private sector to provide infrastructure.”
Murdo MacLeod, Director of MacLeod Construction Ltd, said: "We were aware that Argyll's small businesses needed new space to grow and that rents in the area are often high and beyond the reach of many. We designed and developed the units at the Mull of Kintyre Industrial Estate to meet those needs and provide local businesses with units suitable for all uses that are affordable, with a rent of £50 per week exc VAT.
“We are delighted that all the units have been let in a very short period of time and strong demand exists for further expansion of this development in Campbeltown. We have a list of names for a further block should this go ahead. We hope that this is a model which we could repeat in other Argyll towns and villages to allow Argyll’s small businesses to thrive.”