WHILE last Friday night’s info meeting at the Town Hall proved so popular that the guided tour of the Ludgate hub was called off, The Southern Star got an exclusive preview of the facility last week.
The former bakery and cinema premises has had a major facelift this winter, getting it ready to embrace new technology and the digital age.
When we visited, electricians, painters and carpenters were putting the finishing touches to the impressive building, in time for its first clients, hopefully in early March.
Access will be via an electronic ‘fob’ and the offices will operate 24/7 for anyone working with Asian/US firms, or simply the insomniac techies of West Cork.
The 10,000 sq ft building, over two floors, comprises several large ‘hubs’ which can accommodate small or medium-sized digital companies, seeking to avail of its state-of-the-art equipment and its 1Gbps broadband connectivity – supplied by Vodafone.
The 1Gbps cables are already in situ, connected and ready for action – just waiting for the other finishing touches to be completed. Apart from large open-plan rooms for individual ‘hot’ desking, there are also smaller meeting rooms which will be equipped with touch screen technology for video or Skype-ing.
Two of these rooms have ‘green screen’ walls – which would enable conference hosts to project images onto the wall behind them – eg company logos, or an office scene, or how about, a spectacular West Cork beachscape?!
There are also several ‘breakout’ or ‘chillout’ areas, where clients can take some ‘downtime’ and brainstorm. One area even has a specially treated wall where you can write your ideas, phone numbers, draw cartoons or just doodle, on its unique wipe-away surface. There will also be a fully equipped canteen area, male and female toilets and a shower room.
The former cinema at the rear of the facility hosts the largest open-plan office space in the building, but Ludgate were keen to retain the movie-house theme, and film producer Lord Puttnam has donated some posters from his most famous movies, while old movie projectors will act as stylish props. The sloped ceiling and even the mezzanine projector area have been preserved by the new occupants. According to Callum Donnelly of Ludgate, there has been huge interest in the project – with a diverse range of enquiries, rangng from established documentary makers to newbie technology start-ups.