In 1947, Down Shoes Ltd was opened to manufacture less expensive shoes for the Lotus Group. At itís height, it became one of the largest employers in the area, employing 600 workers. Footwear was made with the brand names of Lotus, Marks and Spencer, Fii, and Frank Wright, although locally it was referred to as Ďthe boot factoryí.
The listed art deco building, initially built as an advance factory for the Northern Ireland Ministry of Commerce, has remained redundant and unoccupied since the factory closed itís doors in 2002, when it became impossible to remain competitive.
In November 2008, planning permission was granted to convert the Lotus factory into approximately 160 houses and apartments.
It is envisaged that bringing the listed building back into use will provide an important focal point on the main gateway to Banbridge from Newry.
Courtesy of http://www.shazzakataya.com
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