This building had no roof,” says Norman Crowley as he shows me around the former carriage house and stables of Powerscourt House in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. The maze of historic buildings, some of which previously housed the CoolPlanet Experience educational centre that moved online during the pandemic, is nearing the end of its completion into 20,000 square feet of new office and workshop space for Crowley’s CoolPlanet Group.
After a Covid-19-induced slump, the business has been on a hiring spree and will hit 170 employees at the end of this month, Crowley says. Most of them will work here. He praises Powerscourt owner Sarah Slazenger for her “loyal and far-sighted” support in the joint investment.
The tour ends in a place that is part heritage building, part garage and part research lab. Various types of wiring creep along cut-stone walls and white clinical light reflects off a Land Rover Defender in gold metallic paint. Halfway between Knight Rider and Grand Designs, this is the new home of Studio Ava, the CoolPlanet Group’s unit dedicated to the custom conversion of high-end and classic cars to electric vehicles, which previously carried out its technical work with partners in the UK.
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