Ireland's largest factory outlet gets green light (UK/IRL)

ING Real Estate Development UK and Coverfield Developments Limited have received detailed planning consent for the €60m, 15,487 sq m (166,705 sq ft) Ballymac Shopping Outlet in Dundalk, Republic of Ireland. The scheme is strategically located in the euro-zone and equi-distant from Dublin and Belfast on the new motorway linking the two cities.

Dundalk Town Council has resolved to grant permission for the shopping outlet village that comprises 80 retail units, cafés, crèche facilities and parking for 1,240 cars. The scheme will be a major catalyst for future growth in the town bringing new prosperity, some 1,000 jobs and considerable investment to the area.

Since the introduction of the concept of factory outlets from America in the early 90’s, the industry has regarded the area between Belfast and Dublin on the N1 road as being a prime location for a quality centre. The majority of leading outlet developers have endeavoured to secure locations and obtain planning without any success, which makes the announcement even more significant and a major coup for the joint venture partnership.

The project, which will be Ireland’s largest outlet centre, will be on site as soon as possible to achieve a Spring 2006 opening.

Both companies involved have a successful track record in the specialist FOC sector. ING Real Estate Development UK opened the first phase of the 14,000 sq m (150,100 sq ft) Dalton Park FOC in April 2003 in County Durham, North East England.

In addition Castel Guelfo outlet, Bologna, Italy opened in June 2004 and San Vicente Shopping Centre, Alicante, Spain is due to open in Autumn this year.

Pantheon Retail is asset manager for all three developments and has been appointed for the Ballymac scheme.

ING Real Estate has five other outlet centres in Eastern Europe.

Coverfield Developments Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Belfast, London and Lisbon based RJ McKinney Limited) has two other FOC’s under construction: the 100,000 sq m (1,076,400 sq ft) Freeport Lisboa, Portugal, the largest FOC in Europe, which opened in June 2004 and the 15,000 sq m (161,460 sq ft) Budapest Outlet Centre due to open in October 2004.

Siep Hoeksma, joint Managing Director of ING Real Estate Development UK commented:
'We are looking forward to starting work on the Ballymac site as soon as possible and will open around Easter 2006. We are already talking in detail to a number of major retail operators and top retail brands some of which will be new to Ireland.'

Billy McKinney, Managing Director of RJ McKinney Limited commented:
'This is excellent news. Dundalk is such an ideal location adjacent to the new M1 Motorway and half way between Dublin and Belfast. This will be Ireland’s largest outlet centre and will offer retailers the chance to exploit both the major markets in the north and the south, as well as the millions of tourists who visit the country.'

The upgrading of the N1 road to Motorway (M1) status from Dublin to Belfast is due to be completed before the scheduled opening of the centre.

This will mean Ballymac Shopping Outlet is the only outlet development in Ireland that is easily accessible (around 45 minutes) to both the major centres of population as well as to the millions of tourists who travel between the two countries.

Allen Hodkinson, who initially introduced the site to ING Real Estate, is letting agent.

The scheme has been designed by S&P Architects.

Source: ING Real Estate Development

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