Shannon Group, the commercial semi-state company dedicated to shaping opportunities in aviation, property and tourism, is continuing its property development programme. Over the past six years the Group has invested over €130 million and delivered one million sq ft of property developments across its Shannon campus which combines Shannon Airport and Shannon Free Zone.
Gerry Dillon, Shannon Group's property director, said: “It’s wonderful to see the positive impact our investment programme is having in providing property solutions for Irish, US and other overseas companies. We achieved an ambitious milestone we set for ourselves back in 2014 when Shannon Group was first established. At that time, we undertook to bring one million sq ft of property solutions to market within six years, and I am delighted to say we achieved this at the end of 2020.”
Much of this has been delivered at Shannon Free Zone one of Ireland’s largest multi-sectoral business parks housing the largest concentration of FDI companies outside of Dublin and providing employment for 8,000 people in 180 companies. Shannon Free Zone occupies a strategic location next to Shannon Airport and is home to an impressive line-up of Multi-National companies including Jaguar Land Rover, GE Sensing, Edward Lifesciences, Thermo King, Lufthansa Technik, Intel, Element Six, Engine Lease Finance Corp., GECAS and Aercap.
Since 2014 the Group has delivered a range of new or upgraded aviation, office, advanced manufacturing and warehouse facilities which has breathed new life into Shannon Free Zone, attracting significant FDI investment.
The latest project there, a development of three advanced manufacturing and logistics facilities totalling 148,000 sq ft on a 12-acre site in the Shannon Free Zone is now complete. US/UK based clinical-stage gene therapy company MeiraGTx have taken two of these buildings and are currently undertaking a significant fit-out.
The third building in the development is currently vacant and encompasses 54,000 sq. ft. and offers excellent flexibility to meet occupier requirements. It can be split into units of 18,000 sq ft/ 36,000 sq ft or let in its entirety (54,000 sq ft). Each potential unit allows for a generous office provision, clear internal height of 7m with grade level loading door and secure rear access and yard. The building affords exciting opportunities for companies, and leasing agent Savills have been appointed to market the development.
In line with Shannon Group's ethos of sustainability, electric vehicle charging points and bike shelter parking are being provided as part of this development, which also provides ample car parking throughout with excellent HGV circulation.
Dillon attributes their success to-date to listening to their customers’ needs and delivering well-designed builds for clients using the best of quality materials and offering competitive commercial rates, combined with the hard work of a great team.
“We pride ourselves on providing bespoke property solutions for indigenous and FDI companies. We have prime development sites and offer tailored turnkey building solutions. We delivered 150,000 sq ft of property solutions last year as part of our overall strategy to develop our property portfolio across our Shannon Campus at the airport and at the Shannon Free Zone. Our focus is on serving our existing client companies and attracting new ones to the region in the future. We have a clear vision for how we want our business to grow and a great team, without doubt, our greatest asset,” he says.
Shannon Group owns a property portfolio that includes over 1.6 million sq ft of building space across four counties, with six business and technology parks and over 2,000 acres at Shannon Airport.
“We are uniquely positioned in that we have a significant supply of landside/airside development sites suitable for the distribution of goods by both air and road. Our strategic location with the airport and Shannon Free Zone situated between the Cities of Galway and Limerick provide a gateway to the Mid-West Region and is an asset for Shannon Group,” says Dillon.
This is borne out by the further recent announcements from MeiraGTx on their new advanced manufacturing and research facility in the Shannon Free Zone and with the recent establishment of a US cybersecurity management company, Exida, establishing a European Centre of Excellence also at Shannon Free Zone with 25 jobs to be created over the next five years.
“The cornerstone to our business strategy is innovation, it’s in Shannon’s DNA. You only have to look at the world’s firsts that have come out of Shannon. There’s the establishment of the world’s first free trade zone back in the 1960s which was replicated in China in the form of their Special Economic Zones. Shannon Airport is the birthplace of the world’s first duty free shop, now a global multi-million industry. It was the first airport in the world outside the US to have pre-clearance for commercial and private aircraft.
“The combined airport and Shannon Free Zone campus which we operate and manage are very closely aligned. We have been busy over the past few years. We have upgraded our core airport infrastructure adding new executive lounges, dining facilities and built world-class property solutions that have attracted FDI and indigenous companies to locate here and create jobs.
“We support a cluster of established and new aviation companies through our International Aviation Services Centre. We built a new €18 million specialist aircraft painting hangar last year, the first to be built in the Republic in almost 20 years and which is capable of housing the world’s biggest aircraft,” says Dillon.
The airport’s ability to handle all aircraft types both passenger and cargo is also an asset. Shannon is used to welcoming large aircraft and is the only airport in Ireland with a runway capable of handling the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya. The aircraft was last in Shannon back in June 2020 when it brought a consignment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Irish healthcare workers.
Dillon predicts an exciting future for Shannon Free Zone with the campus being at the centre of cutting-edge innovation, heralded last year by the establishment of the Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) research hub in the Shannon Free Zone.
The Campus is Ireland’s first test bed for Future Mobility and will provide a unique real world setting to research and develop future mobility technologies. FMCI and its partners, which includes Shannon Group, are already seeing value in the collaboration within this growing eco-system including Start-Ups, SME’s and multinational companies.
Shannon Group are looking to the future and are forging ahead with the next phase of their developments at Shannon Free Zone which will see them develop 140,000 sq ft of industrial space which includes the upgrade of two existing units in the Zone for small office and warehouse accommodation. In addition, the team have secured planning for a new 4 storey 58,000 sq ft office block beside Rineanna House at Shannon Free Zone, which they plan to build out when they have market demand. They also offer facilities for new start-up companies at their purpose-built Gateway Hub, space here is fully occupied.
Ei Electronics, the largest Irish owned company in Shannon Free Zone, which employs 800 people is undertaking a 100,000 sq ft expansion at its facility.
“We have seen how the regeneration work at Shannon Free Zone is energising our region. It has stimulated FDI and indigenous investment, creating jobs for our young people. Our newest developments will provide ready to go solutions for new companies locating into Shannon to continue that trend.”
For further information on opportunities at Shannon Free Zone please contact Savills at +353 21 427 1371 or Shannon Commercial Properties +353 61 710 000.