Ballymun shopping centre acquired by Dublin City Council

Council to undertake ‘complete redevelopment’ of the site

Ballymun Shopping Centre, which is to be redeveloped by Dublin City Council. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Ballymun Shopping Centre, which is to be redeveloped by Dublin City Council. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Thu, May 29, 2014, 01:00

The dilapidated 50-year-old Ballymun shopping centre, which has been a blight on the regeneration of the Dublin suburb, is to be redeveloped by Dublin City Council.

The council, which already owns 47 per cent of the Ballymun Town Centre complex, has reached agreement with Nama and its receivers to acquire the remaining 53 per cent interest in the centre, which had been owned by developers Treasury Holdings.

Treasury’s €800 million shopping centre planned for the site of the old town centre complex was to be the focal point of the newly regenerated suburb. The company secured planning permission for the development, which was to include an 11-screen cinema, bowling alley, public library, creche and restaurants, as well as shops, offices and apartments in 2009.

It had intended to begin construction the following year, but the economic crash intervened and the town centre lands became part of Nama’s portfolio of loans before any development began. A large number of retailers in the centre have since shut up shop and two months ago it lost its anchor tenant, Tesco.

The failure to redevelop the shopping centre has been described by Ballymun Regeneration Ltd chairman Ronan King as “the major disappointment” of the project, as it left a suburb of 18,000 people without proper shopping facilities.

Regeneration

All other major construction projects of the regeneration are almost complete. Tenants and community organisations have moved from the old flat blocks to new accommodation and 33 of the original 36-flat blocks have been demolished. The remaining blocks are due to be razed this year. Some 3,000 new homes, parks, playgrounds and recreational and leisure facilities have been provided, as well as HSE and social welfare offices and a new Garda station.

‘District centre’

The council already owns a site to the north of the old shopping centre, which has “district centre” zoning, allowing it to be used for retail and commercial developments. It is seeking to sell this site to a “major retail outlet”, it said and will work with the existing tenants of the shopping centre and the new site owners to “create the conditions necessary to advance the complete redevelopment of the site and the completion of a new modern heart for Ballymun town”.

The council has not given a time scale for the delivery of the shopping centre; however it is likely to take several years to develop.