HALO’s global plans highlighted with visit from Scottish Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs

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ANGUS Robertson MSP, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, today (24.08.22) visited the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre in Kilmarnock to witness first-hand how the world class facility is not only helping businesses and local communities in Ayrshire but planning to grow on an international scale.

During his tour of the award-winning building, the Cabinet Secretary was shown the HALO’s low-carbon tech, including its 107 rooftop solar panels and battery storage facility, which represent part of the HALO’s low carbon credentials, the HALO #RockMe Trading Floor, which is home to some of Ayrshire’s most exciting businesses, and some of the shared working spaces where tenants can meet, work and network while on site at the HALO. The #RockMe Trading Floor will also be home to a Green Growth Accelerator Unit at the HEIC, backed by a green investment fund, designed to attract not only Scottish businesses but companies from outside Scotland, with the intention of creating investment opportunities both for The HALO and its partners and tenants.

The Cabinet Secretary also visited Nasdaq-listed PRA Group, which is the HALO’s anchor tenant and one of the largest employers in Kilmarnock.

With the HALO development now well under way, the global aspirations and plans for the HALO brand can now progress, building on some of the valuable relationships the HALO has forged in recent years, including NASA’s Rice Space Institute in Houston, Texas (promoting STEM education and sustainability); the Israeli Government and the Embassy of Israel in London (a relationship formed at COP26 based on a mutual determination to drive the green energy agenda); and Glasgow Caledonian University’s New York College (whose three Masters of Science degrees examine business, fashion and risk management through the lenses of sustainability and social impact). 

Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of HALO Urban Regeneration Company, said: “We were proud to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to the HALO in Kilmarnock today as we toured our state-of-the-art facilities and outlined the important domestic and international business opportunities that exist for HALO.

“Everyone at the HALO is extremely grateful for the support and investment of both the Scottish and UK governments and on today’s visit we were able to not only show off our net zero credentials and how we’re supporting businesses across Ayrshire and Scotland, but to outline to the Cabinet Secretary the HALO’s global aspirations as we look to help create the new tomorrow’s world.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture at the Scottish Government, Angus Robertson MSP, said: “HALO epitomises many of the ambitions set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, leading the way not only in demonstrating how a net-zero facility can and should operate, but also how public and private sectors can work together to deliver the right environment for business growth.

“HALO has embodied transformation; regenerating a brownfield site to a state-of-the-art space for businesses to thrive and attract inward investment. Dr Macklin is setting the gold standard for how we can work together to achieve truly world leading success.”

13 years in the making, and the vision of Marie Macklin CBE, the HALO Kilmarnock is a £63m brownfield urban regeneration project on a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker whisky, designed to maximise collaboration between entrepreneurs and UK PLCs.

The HALO’s Enterprise and Innovation Centre opened its doors earlier this year and Phase II of the development is a blueprint for a move towards greener housing in the UK, which will bring 210 world class smart homes of the future to Kilmarnock. Fuelled by 100 per cent renewable energy and digital healthcare monitoring systems, the smart homes, which have attracted support funding from the Scottish Government’s “Scotland’s Heat Network Fund”, will be built at the HALO using sustainable construction materials and techniques.

These homes will be designed and constructed in partnership with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre with a commitment to creating future smart and sustainable homes while supporting the adoption of new skills in the construction industry. Phase II will also see the construction of light manufacturing units at The HALO, attracting businesses that want to locate within a net zero carbon environment with access to the digital skills to be found within the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre.

With a vision for a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter where people can ‘Live, Work, Learn and Play’, The HALO sets the standard for low carbon sites across the UK, providing a sustainable community approach to a mixed-use development.

In addition to Diageo gifting the land and investing support funding of £2m, the HALO Kilmarnock has received funding of £3.5 million from the Scottish Government, £3.5 million from the UK Government and £2 million from East Ayrshire Council as part of the £251 million Ayrshire Growth Deal – a 10-year investment programme jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments and local authorities.

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