A new retail development encorporating a restaurant, food-to-go, fuel and rest stop is planned for a site on the outskirts of Ballymena at a cost of £2m.
It is understood the new facility is destined for ‘The Big House’ on the Crankill Road and will create just under 70 new jobs.
Owner of the site and Kenny’s Group, Kenny Bradley said the investment will be an asset to tourism.
“I believe that this site will complement all the hard work that Discover NI have been doing and show that we have the infrastructure and services to cope with tourists. It is important that the Northern Ireland is seen to deliver a first class service so we can continue to compete on a global scale.”
Local Politicians have responded enthusiastically about the prospect of the development on the main tourist route from the North Coast to Belfast.
Local MP Ian Paisley jnr said: “This is another excellent development for North Antrim with the creation of jobs alongside a boost to the local economy. It is heartening to see the Group invest in North Antrim and I hope this latest boost will encourage others in the area to follow suit and to bring more investment and job opportunities to the area.
“I congratulate the Kenny’s Group on their addition to the infrastructure of North Antrim and I wish the project every success moving forward.”
East Derry Assembly Member John Dallat said: “I have every confidence that this project will be first class. Kenny Bradley has a wealth of experience behind him. He has established a brand name in several towns which people recognize as representing value for money coupled with first-class service.
“Mr Bradley will be in this project for the long haul rather than any short-term gain and that means motorists can look forward to a retail amenity, which will serve the people of Northern Ireland for many years to come. I wish Kenny all the success this project will bring.”
Also welcoming the news, North Antrim UUP MLA Robin Swann said: ““This restaurant and service station development will provide another link in the chain that will improve the experience of tourists travelling to and from the North Coast.
“Just as we grow our economy to meet the needs of tourists we also improve the facilities for local and create much needed sustainable employment. “Kenny’s” is becoming a much recognised brand throughout the region and I would like to congratulate Kenny Bradley on his initiative and drive as shown in his continued investment in new businesses.”
The development will benefit the local area of North Antrim with the creation of just under 70 jobs plus the construction workers to complete the project, which will be around 50 workers over 12 months.
Mr Bradley added: “This is the part that I am most excited about, creating new jobs and opportunities for the local community. We recently won Retailer of the Year and the UTV Business Eye Employer of the Year and are immensely proud of our accomplishments.
“This site will bring prosperity not just to the local community where it is situated, but to Northern Ireland and the multitude of tourists that will now be able to stop and enjoy a refreshing break in an all catering and encompassing service site.”