A VERY exciting bid to make a Borders site the ‘MTB Capital of Europe’ has been filed with the council.
In February, a multi-million pound deal was struck by South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) to buy the historic Caerlee factory in Innerleithen to move the project forward.
And now plans to develop the world’s ‘first’ mountain bike innovation center have been lodged with the Scottish Borders Council.
The development is expected to create over 400 jobs over a 10-year period.
A report submitted by Edinburgh-based Oberlanders Architects said: “The site is close to a number of world-class mountain bike trails and aims to build on this mountain bike-focused cluster. to provide support, promote growth and drive sustainable innovation.
“The scope of the project is for the development of the grade B listed Caerlee factory in Innerleithen to provide a new mountain bike innovation center which will provide cutting edge expertise from academia and industry with a focus on developing business opportunities across the mountain biking sector.
“The building will host a wide range of activities, including bicycle design, testing and manufacturing of bicycle components and accessories, food, nutrition and wellness, as well as training facilities and support for elite cyclists.
“It will provide space to support start-ups in the sector, as well as facilities for more established companies to grow and expand their businesses.
“The building will also provide community facilities including a cafe and space for heritage information panels and exhibits.”
The Scottish and UK governments have backed the project, which will be funded under the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.
It will be primarily a business-to-business facility, but a cafe, gym, studios and small exhibition spaces will be open to the public.
When completed, it is hoped the center will attract Scottish, UK and international businesses to develop products and services, or even train athletes at the site.
Following the announcement of the purchase of the Caerlee Mill site earlier this year, then council leader Mark Rowley said: “The whole mountain bike community is behind us and this will just be the project. the most fantastic, here, right in the heart of the borders, in Tweeddale and Innerleithen.
The center is expected to inject millions into the local community once operational.
The council bid comes the same week it was revealed that Glentress Forest will be the venue for one of the biggest cycling events in the world – the UCI Cycling World Championships.