Kerry Based Consultancy Firm Wins Contract for Future Flagship Digital Hub & Coworking Facility in Athlone
A flagship Digital Hub and Coworking facility in Athlone moved a step forward recently with the appointment of Kerry based Consultants to undertake a Feasibility Study. The move is good news for businesses in the area, and follows the recent release of the Government’s ambitious new policy for Rural Ireland, ‘Our Rural Future‘, which includes a focus on investing in remote and coworking facilities across the country.
The Feasibility Study contract has been awarded to Kerry based Consultants HQConsulting, who already operate three hubs in Tralee and Listowel under their HQKerry operations and are specialists in the development of coworking and digital hub facilities. The Consultants will be supported by MCOH Architects from Portlaoise.
Off the back of recent Government announcements relating to the opportunities for regional towns to attract more remote workers and businesses the project could see the development of a state-of-the-art facility in Athlone town to accommodate over 200 workers.
Tom O’Leary of HQCoworking outlined “Our intention is to identify if there is an opportunity to develop a Digital Hub and Coworking facility in Athlone town that will enable more quality employment in the area, and to allow remote workers and relocating companies to establish a base. The study aims to also identify the opportunity for new businesses to be grown out of the hub to support the wider economy”.
Speaking about the appointment, Alan Shaw, President of Athlone Chamber said “We are looking forward to working with HQ Consulting over the coming months. This project is about the future and one in a context where the work life landscape has been revolutionised over the past 15 months”.
The study process will be completed in four phases, the first of which is a needs analysis review, which will look at demand and ongoing viability of a remote working centre in Athlone. It will be followed by a location and facility review and assessment which will examine the technical and economic assessment in the running of the new facility.
Ken Tobin of HQCoworking said “Our experience shows that creating the right environment in the centre of towns for hubs to develop, has a knock-on effect for the entire town and becomes a catalyst for further jobs to be created locally. Our own hubs have shown that if you provide the right opportunity new employment will be created and the recent Our Rural Futures document from Government underlines the positive economic impact hubs such as these can have for a local economy”.
A Collaborative Approach
While led by Athlone Chamber, the Athlone Digital Hub and Co-working Centre will be advanced by a collaboration between statutory agencies, community and private bodies. The project is supported by the Just Transition funding along with AIT, Westmeath County Council, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.
Gerry McInerney, Athlone Chamber’s thanked Just Transition & Westmeath Co Council for funding to carry out this feasibility study. “The aim of our group is to identify a suitable Town Centre building & deliver a dedicated green energy Hub. This will provide landing space for large companies, space for SMEs & Entrepreneurs to grow & also space for remote workers. We are delighted to be working with such experienced consultants & we look forward to their report in due course.”