NAMA Top 10 developer Gerry Barrett’s Edward Holdings has announced a €20m expansion of its Scotch Hall development in Drogheda, county Louth – NAMA is providing the readies and work will commence in just over one month’s time. The expansion will see the creation of 150 construction jobs and when the development is completed, there should be an extra 150 retail and cinema jobs. The expansion will see a new 8-screen cinema, a food court that can accommodate 450 people, shopping units and additional parking. Everyone seems delighted with the announcement, including politicians, the local Chamber of Commerce and Edward Holdings. It was announced last month that NAMA was selling 15 apartments in the wider Scotch Hall complex for social housing and the development is likely to improve the amenities available to all local residents.
You might contrast this announcement with the announcement by Paypal earlier this year for the creation of 1,000 jobs at its base in Dundalk. It seems the Paypal jobs will be created over a period of years and there are concerns that we don’t have people with the required skills for the roles which might mean the roles are either not filled or that Paypal is forced to bring in manpower from overseas. By contrast, the investment at Scotch Hall is “shovel-ready” and will have an immediate boost to employment, particularly local employment and construction provides one of the most immediate boosts to the local economy. That’s not to take away from the Paypal announcement and the need to examine skills shortages, but it just highlights what a relatively small construction investment can achieve.
Earlier this year, NAMA announced plans to invest €2bn in its developments and at the time indicated the investment might create 25,000 construction jobs and 10,000 additional permanent jobs, and presumably this €20m forms part of that €2bn announcement. Imagine what the remaining investment might do, if it is delivered expeditiously.