Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nearing completion: the third IDA Advance Building Solution at the Butlerstown Business & Technology Park. 

AS of April last, there was only 5,500 square feet of available warehouse retail space in Waterford City. As 2022 draws to a close, there is no available high-end office space in Waterford City.

This underlines a justified level of confidence about our city’s economic health as 2022 draws to a close and suggests that we can approach with 2023 with well-reasoned optimism.

The South East’s capital, with an ever-growing population, is drawing more and more people to live and work here.

With 136,000 people living within the city’s core catchment area (which runs through our four neighbouring regional counties) and 700,000 people within an hour’s drive of Waterford, growth and investment are becoming increasingly visible.

For all the justified focus there has been regarding city centre occupancy, there are times, perhaps when the public gaze has not been directed onto our increasingly busy industrial parks. After all, these are where our better paid jobs are located thanks to the deepening of Life Sciences, Biopharma, Information Technology and the Financial Service sectors.

This ever developing ecosystem is not only attracting people to Waterford to work, it’s also providing opportunities for career progression within this region, keeping talent and disposable income local.

It’s why the Waterford City Bypass, contrary to those who suggest the Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge is a quiet thoroughfare, has a several hundred yard long line of traffic on the Carriganore slip road five mornings a week.

With 10 times as many IDA-supported jobs in Waterford in comparison to Kilkenny, a point welcomingly revisited by the recently published South East Economic Monitor, people are also commuting to work in our city.

Naturally, we will continue to highlight what Waterford, and in turn the South East, needs to do to position itself as an economically vibrant region but we can’t do so from within a paranoid vacuum.

Things are moving in a more positive direction and that has to be acknowledged. That so much of this has been driven in the absence of a senior cabinet minister from Waterford represents an interesting development and suggests a shift in decision making power.

This city, county and region is undeniably making progress, attracting Foreign Direct Investment while also benefiting from indigenous know-how which hasn’t fled the place they were born, reared and educated in.

Unemployment in the South East, as of Q3 this year, stands at 3.8%, compared to the current national rate of 4.5%. There are just under 217,000 people now working in the region, an increase of 8% – that’s 16,000 jobs, on a year-on-year basis.

IDA Ireland, as new South East Regional Manager Brian McGee confirmed to this newspaper, are now actively seeking out new landbanks in Waterford as the agency requires it. Again, this represents a wholly positive development.

As 2022 draws to a close, the staff of the Waterford News & Star would like to wish all our readers and customers a prosperous 2023, a year in which work on the North Quays will welcomingly commence.

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