Report by Alex Iszatt
Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen is to become the home of the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre, which is will be designed to allow companies to develop products and services as well as train and test athletes.
It will operate in tandem with the nearby proposed Tweed Valley Bike Park, with a planning application due to go to Scottish Borders Council later this year.
A final business case for full funding will also be presented to the Borderlands board for approval this year.
The mill has been purchased by development group South of Scotland Enterprise on behalf of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, part of the UK Government's levelling up programme.
South of Scotland Enterprise will deliver the project with support from the council and Edinburgh Napier University.
Councillor Mark Rowley, leader of the council and Borderlands board member, said: “The purchase of Caerlee Mill for the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is an important milestone.
"It means we can now move ahead with our exciting plans to build on the already well-established reputation of the Tweed Valley as one of the world’s top mountain biking destinations.
"This project also supports one of our core strategic themes for the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, of supporting business, innovation and skills across the region, which will in turn stimulate business growth and create a more diverse regional economy."
Professor Nick Antonopoulos, Vice Principal for Research and Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “This is a significant development in our journey towards establishing the world’s first Mountain Bike Innovation Centre.
"The new facilities will build on the fantastic research Edinburgh Napier has been carrying out through the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland since 2012.
“There will be a step change in research opportunities across a range of academic disciplines, including exercise science, public health, engineering, inclusion, product design, artificial intelligence, big data and tourism, leading to the delivery of positive societal impact in terms of wellbeing and sustainability.”
The UK Government is investing £19million into the project as part of its £265m investment along with the Scottish Government investment of £85m.
Borderlands predict the innovation centre will contribute £141m in Gross Value Added (GVA) and create over 400 jobs in the South of Scotland over 10 years.