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First look at plans to transform Michelin Dundee into world-class innovation centre

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Images of how the Michelin Dundee campus could be transformed into a centre for cutting edge technologies have been revealed for the first time.

Scottish Enterprise and Dundee City Council, along with the French tyre company, have entered into a partnership to turn the site into a world class innovation hub in a bid to replace the 850 jobs lost with the end of tyre production.

They are equal partners in the newly formed Michelin-Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP) which will focus on sustainable transport and low carbon energy.

Michelin factory manager John Reid, who was recently named chief executive of MSIP, said the potential for the site is enormous.

“Michelin has invested heavily in this site over the last few years, spending around £90 million to create a factory that had another 10 to 15 years in front of it,” he said.

“The site wasn’t being run down – investments were being made right up to the closure announcement.

“Key offerings from us are infrastructure and space and also a very talented workforce.

“When we repurpose this site, we hope that some of the talent will be retained or workers who have found other opportunities will want to return.”

The MSIP vision is to split the vast 32 hectare site into three sections.

The current production and manufacture buildings will be used for advanced manufacturing and could accommodate hundreds of jobs.

In the centre of the site will be an innovation campus, containing a large skills academy, a new innovation hub and space for start-ups.

At the north of the site there is green space for bespoke buildings for cutting edge technology such as hydrogen production.

Mr Reid said the ambition is to attract companies to the site as soon as possible – ideally before tyre production ends in June.

He said more than 30 companies had expressed an interest in the site, with a strong reaction from more than 10 firms who had visited the Dundee facility so far.

But he cautioned replacing all of the 845 Michelin jobs will take years to achieve.

“Some of our buildings are only two-and-a-half years old, some are six years old and they’ve been built to Michelin standards,” he said.

“I’ve met with managing directors and factory managers and there is real interest in the site. It’s been really reassuring.

“The preferred option is to rent facilities to companies but if someone comes along and puts serious money on the table to reinvest in this activity then we’d have a look at it.”

Talks have also started with Dundee’s universities and colleges about bringing academics onto the site to help support the high tech innovations.

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