A LOW carbon ‘centre of excellence’ planned for Portlaoise is on track to open this autumn.
Refurbishment work on the three-storey office building in Church Street will begin as soon as legal agreement is reached with the vendor.
The €2.5m centre known as The Cube is expected to be ready for occupation in late summer or early autumn, according to Laois County Council chief executive John Mulholland.
In his latest management report, Mr Mulholland said: “It is anticipated that the new centre will be ready for occupation in the third quarter of this year. It is envisaged that The Cube will be a major new collaboration that will have a significant impact at county and regional level.”
As reported in the Laois Nationalist last month, ‘The Cube’ has been granted €2.5m from the regional enterprise development fund. It will be the first dedicated low carbon facility in the midlands region.
In his management report to the latest county council meeting, Mr Mulholland confirmed that The Cube aims to deliver up to 260 jobs over the next ten years.
As Portlaoise has been designated as Ireland’s first ‘Low Carbon Town’, the centre will assist business and industry in reducing carbon emissions and developing low carbon operations.
The glass-fronted building overlooking the recently-restored Fort Protector extends to 1,000sq m and will provide office space spread over three floors. The overall cost of establishing The Cube is €2.56 million, with the balance of funding provided by the county council and other partners.
The centre aims to support the adaptation and development of industry to meet targets under Climate Action 2040 and will support the transition to a low carbon economy. It will be the first “dedicated low carbon facility” in the region and forms part of the overall plans for the regeneration of Portlaoise, as part of Project Ireland 2040.
The aim of the innovative centre is to encourage local business and industry to analyse their operations, particularly in terms of reducing their carbon footprint, in order to increase efficiency and ultimately lead to sustainable employment and competitive advantage. It will also work towards attracting and developing companies with a low carbon focus to the county, which in turn will hopefully bring further employment to Laois.