Morrison Construction to break ground at Halo's £63m Kilmarnock innovation hub

The Halo Enterprise and Innovation hub will support jobs, economic growth, skills development, access to employment opportunities, clean energy and housing. Picture: Contributed
The Halo Enterprise and Innovation hub will support jobs, economic growth, skills development, access to employment opportunities, clean energy and housing. Picture: Contributed
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Work is set to start on the multi-million-pound redevelopment of the former Johnnie Walker site in Kilmarnock.

The Halo Urban Regeneration Company has announced that construction of its “cutting-edge” enterprise and innovation hub will kick off at the end of the month after appointing Morrison Construction as its main contractor.

Morrison – part of listed construction group Galliford Try – was awarded the multi-million-pound deal to lead phase one of the £63 million brownfield urban regeneration project.

The hub will provide a low-carbon, mixed-use development to support jobs, economic growth, skills development, access to employment opportunities, clean energy and housing.

Construction at the 23-acre site – formerly the home of the Johnnie Walker bottling plant – is expected to be completed by January 2021, with some 700 workers on site throughout the build.

Its offering will include a hub to maximise collaboration between digital and cyber entrepreneurs, responding to the needs of the energy, health and space/aerospace sectors, along with digital learning facilities for the community and office and workspace for established businesses.

The development will also feature suites to simulate hi-tech working environments in areas such as health and social care, as well as facilities for virtual and augmented reality-based scenario training.

Project director Drew Macklin said: “Today marks a huge milestone for the Halo as we announce Morrison Construction as the main construction contractor to deliver the Enterprise and Innovation Hub in Kilmarnock and start preparations for them to begin construction on site by the end of September.

“The hub will form part of the Halo’s dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter where people can live, work, learn and play.”

Morrison MD Eddie Robertson said the development “will revitalise the town centre and support the wider Ayrshire economy”. He added: “We look forward to working with our new client to successfully deliver this project that will drive growth in Kilmarnock and the surrounding areas.

“During construction, we will engage with all stakeholders and provide education and employment opportunities as part of our progressive social value programme.”

The Halo last year announced ScottishPower as its headline sponsor in a £5m partnership aiming to create a digital training and learning facility at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.

It has also teamed up with Barclays to develop the entrepreneurship and employability skills of young people and adults across Scotland.