Big Tallaght site with development potential at knockdown price

2.2-acre mixed-use site opposite The Square is seeking €4.5m

A key development opportunity with planning permission for a €40 million leisure and retail complex opposite The Square shopping centre in Tallaght, Co Dublin, is to be offered for sale from today at a knockdown price.

Colette Mulroy of Savills is quoting €4.5 million for the 2.2 acre site which was acquired before the property crash for about €20 million by developer Bernard McNamara. The site was subsequently sold to Oaktree Capital Management as part of two non-performing real estate loans for a combined face value of €4.76 billion.

In spite of the major setbacks, there has always been considerable local confidence that the mixed-use project will eventually proceed. That view was strengthened by last year’s decision to extend the planning permission on the original scheme until 2020.

The three top floors of the planned five-storey over basement building was to have included 13 cinemas capable of seating no fewer than 3,000 people. Leisureplex facilities were also to have been installed. One of the cinemas was to have seated 500 people, making it one of the largest in the country. The two-storey cinema with a “blockbuster” screen was intended to cater mainly for major film releases. The promoters even agreed to pre-let the cinemas to UCI/Leisureplex before the entire scheme ran into financial difficulties.


Original plan

The original plan provided for two floors of retail use at ground and first-floor levels extending to 11,781sq m (127,000sq ft). Letting agents had even approached “big box” traders offering them units ranging from 1,000 to 11,781sq m (10,764 to 126,810sq ft).

The original design by Burke Kennedy Doyle architects included a basement car park with 270 spaces which was to have been accessed directly off Belgard Road. The master plan provides for a direct escalator access to the upper floors from a new public plaza at the junction of Belgard Square East and Blessington Road. If it proceeds, the development will adjoin the existing McDonald's drive-through restaurant.

McNamara's company, Laytar, originally acquired the former Woodies site in Tallaght from a group of investors assembled by businessman Derek Quinlan. They had initially planned to develop a shopping facility and 350 apartments on the site.

Colette Mulroy described the site as “easily the best development opportunity in the Tallaght area”. While it benefited from a positive planning grant, other high-value uses may also be suitable, subject to planning permission.

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan

Jack Fagan is the former commercial-property editor of The Irish Times