In another landmark step towards establishing its Superyacht facilities in Plymouth, Princess Yachts International has today announced the acquisition of the freehold from the Ministry of Defense for its South Yard site at the Devonport Naval Base.
The Plymouth boat builder has been on site as tenants for over 12 months building the first of their M Class yachts, a range of 100-foot plus vessels. This acquisition will now allow Princess to redevelop the site into world class facilities, breathing new life into this historical and proud British ship yard.
The company is already focused on the next step of this development as it seeks to gain funding from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) which in turn will see around £35 million invested into the facilities, securing future boat building at the site and jobs in the city.
Chris Gates, Managing Director of Princess Yachts International said: “Obtaining this freehold and then gaining RGF support to build these world class facilities in Plymouth will enable us to successfully compete in the global motor yacht and Superyacht market. These steps, together with our significant financial investment will help deliver a brighter future for boat building in Plymouth and across the UK.”
He continued. “We have been working closely with the MOD and its property arm, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation ever since we took up the lease for the site in 2009 and both have been tremendously supportive of the acquisition and we are extremely grateful to them, in particular I’d like to thank the Naval Base Commander, Commodore Steve Dearden for his unrelenting support.”
If commissioned the new production site will be fully operational by 2012/2013 and create or secure over 1,000 jobs directly and in the wider Plymouth economy.
Commodore Steve Dearden, Naval Base Commander, said: “We have been working very closely with Princess Yachts and are pleased to have reached agreement on freehold sale of the site in South Yard, enabling them to expand the impressive yacht building facility they are already developing on the site. I am pleased that the sale will transfer responsibility for some of the historic buildings in South Yard to Princess Yachts offering them the opportunity to bring them back to life, and allowing the Naval Base to concentrate on support to operational front line ships and submarines.”
Princess exports 90 per cent of its products and has built a global reputation for quality and craftsmanship. It is already Plymouth’s second largest employer, with just under 2,000 employees, as well as supporting several hundred supply chain jobs.