Business Plus

Restoring An Old Building Brings Remote Possibilit­ies

Martin Cooper had just settled into retirement when he set about converting a derelict historic building into a state-of-the-art business centre, writes

- John Kinsella

What do you do for your third act? That was the issue facing Martin Cooper (58) when he sold his business in 2017. The business was Upstream Technical Consultant­s (UTC), which since 1998 sourced personnel for the exploratio­n and production industry.

Cooper and UTC were go-to intermedia­ries for drilling managers, production engineers, geologists, geophysici­sts, project engineers and other roles associated with extracting oil and gas from desert sands or Arabian seas.

From Bromley in Kent, Cooper fell in love with his Irish wife Áine on the ski slopes and they settled in Kildare in 2008. The couple made the decision that the Dublin market was overpriced at the time, and in any case Cooper spent most of his time working from home or out of the country.

His consultanc­y operated abroad from business centres in England, Limassol, Baghdad, Tripoli and Dubai, and it was the entreprene­ur’s experience of those business centres that got him thinking after the shareholde­r purchase agreement was signed off.

Cooper lives on the outskirts of Newbridge so he was aware of Charlotte House in the centre of the town, built in 1840 and once the town’s main Post Office. The building had fallen into derelictio­n but Cooper saw the possibilit­ies of transformi­ng the structure, and some adjacent properties out back and to the side, into the type of business centre he would like to have worked in over the years.

“I retired for about two hours on a Tuesday afternoon, and Mrs Cooper

kicked me out and said ‘go and do something’,” he recalls. “I was only 53 at the time so I needed to do that concept of a third act. I couldn’t sit in a golf club and have people make my ears bleed. It’s just not me. I had to do something else, and this is my something else.”

After a five-year rebuild project, Newbridge Business Centre recently opened fully following a limited soft launch earlier in the year. Unlike most of the remote working hubs that have sprung up since Covid, hot-desking is

 ?? MARTIN DONNELLY ?? Newbridge Business Centre is Martin Cooper’s third act
MARTIN DONNELLY Newbridge Business Centre is Martin Cooper’s third act

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