The Tech Deck and Education Centre showcasing the sport, innovation, technology and sustainability is at the heart of the team base, and welcomes schools and community groups. Visitors will experience the construction and on-going operation of the team’s America’s Cup boats first-hand.
In accordance with the team’s sustainability goals – monitored and supported by 11th Hour Racing Inc. – the base has been built to the BREEAM Excellent standard.
Construction work started in July 2014, with the new home becoming fully operational in June 2015. The team developing the base included HGP Architects (already responsible for Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quay); Allied Developments (Main Contractor); Reuby and Stagg (Structural Engineers) and Couch Perry Wilkes (Environmental Consultants).
Land Rover BAR was awarded £6.5million of Government funding to support the team and its proposal to build a base on the Camber in Portsmouth – a site already approved by Portsmouth City Council.
The announcement took place at 10 Downing Street in the presence of the Prime Minister.
David Cameron commented:
“Sir Ben Ainslie’s project is truly fantastic news for Portsmouth and the Solent. It will not only build on Portsmouth’s global reputation as a centre of marine and maritime excellence but will also deliver a real sporting and economic boost to the UK. It is a great example of our long-term plan – creating jobs as well as opportunities for young people to develop their skills through apprenticeships.”
“This is an exciting and historic challenge and I hope the whole country can get behind Sir Ben’s campaign.”
BAR Team Principal and four-time Olympic gold medallist, Sir Ben Ainslie said:
“Portsmouth has a great maritime heritage and we felt it was a natural home for the team’s permanent base in the UK. There is excellent access to the water for the team’s training and to host future America’s Cup events, with fantastic spectator viewpoints. We hope through our journey to bring the Cup home to Britain we will inspire more young people to get involved in the sport, along with supporting the growth of the marine sector in the Solent area to match the country’s F1 innovation hub.”
The headquarters will initially employ about 90 people, with many more potential jobs in the supply chain. It will become the focal point for the design, construction and development of the team’s boats and will also provide sports science and fitness facilities. An apprenticeship and training scheme will ensure the site is sustainable and there will be a drive to ensure the project acts as a catalyst to encourage participation in the sport of sailing, all areas of the marine industry and develop the talent of the future.
The project has the potential to bring significant economic and sporting benefits to the UK, particularly for Portsmouth and the wider Solent area. A recent report on Team New Zealand suggested that its base in Auckland created 1,000 jobs and brought an $88million boost to the local economy.