Maze Long Kesh is a 165 hectare / 400 acre site in an attractive semi-rural setting in Northern Ireland, adjacent to the main highway connecting Belfast and Dublin. , It incorporates the former Maze Prison, one of the most politically sensitive sites in Europe.
Originally fertile agricultural land, it was sequestered by the Ministry of Defence during WWII as an airfield; then became a US Airforce HQ; then it was a military encampment & depot, an aircraft test site, a flying school and a meteorological station, before its more contentious recent history from the 1960s as a site of military internment and the infamous Maze Prison.
The site hosts several Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) and Listed Buildings form its historical legacy, but also extensive severe contamination, including asbestos. That said, its scale, aspect and strategic location meant it had huge latest economic potential.
Kerri Farnsworth was sought out to lead the redevelopment and rejuvenation of the site.
Key achievements included delivery of:-
- A 5-phase, 25-year £450m Spatial Framework & Delivery Plan, based on the principle of using upfront public sector infrastructure investment to drive and capture consequential land value uplift.
- The first onsite investor-occupier, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society, who now have their HQ, exhibition centre and showgrounds for their prestigious annual Balmoral Show over a 55-acre plot
- Investor positioning & comms strategy, and subsequent Head Investor search & negotiations
- £30m for a new ‘international centre for conflict transformation’, designed by Daniel Libeskind and McAdam Architects
- £8m site remediation scheme and £2m Listed Buildings/SAM renovations
- Interim site Activation Plan, including major public events; design of new sports & leisure and public art trails; and supporting the transition of the Ulster Aviation Society from a volunteer-led visitor attraction to a fully-accredited museum
- Supported establishment of a new statutory Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation