UK property group Hammerson and Irish Life have begun work on a €1.5 million refurbishment of the Ilac Centre in Dublin's north inner city.
This will involve a redevelopment of the shopping centre’s Moore Mall South with agreements signed with retailers for four of the five newly-created units.
BB’s Coffee & Muffins has committed to a 160sq m (1,679sq ft) unit, serving a range of pastries, sandwiches and coffee.
The Works, a books retailer, will occupy 182sq m (1,958sq ft), with sport supplement store So Nutrition taking a 52sq m (560sq ft) unit.
Nisbets, a specialist catering equipment retailer, has leased a store covering 516sq m (5,554sq ft).
The redevelopment will be completed by the summer this year and forms part of the owners’ wider plan to improve the tenant mix at the Ilac, which opened in 1981 and is located between Henry Street and Parnell Street.
The Ilac comprises 27,110sq m (291,808sq ft) of retail space and recorded a footfall of 17.8 million people in 2016. It is jointly owned by Hammerson and Irish Life.
It has 85 retail and catering units, with brands including H&M, River Island and Argos. New brands introduced in recent months include Tiger, Paese Cosmetics and Chopped.
The centre also houses the central library but separate plans led by Dublin City Council foresee the facility moving to Parnell Square.
Simon Betty, Hammerson's director of retail Ireland, said the Ilac investment would enhance the retail experience for shoppers and improve the tenant mix.
“The centre is well located in the centre of Dublin, benefiting from high footfall and sales, and through this refurbishment and other asset-management initiatives we will ensure that the centre continues to offer our customers the right mix of retail, and food and beverage,” he said.
Deirdre Hayes, head of property asset management at Irish Life, said the refurbishment would be an important milestone for the Ilac, enhancing the "quality and mix" of retail and leisure for the catchment area.
“We look forward to working with Hammerson on this and future projects,” she added.
Hammerson acquired its 50 per cent interest in the Ilac through its purchase in September 2015 of the Project Jewel portfolio from the National Asset Management Agency, in a joint venture with Allianz.
The portfolio comprised loans associated with Irish property developer Joe O’Reilly, including borrowings connected with the Dundrum Town Centre, and a 50 per cent interest in the Pavilions centre in Swords, north Dublin.
Hammerson and Allianz paid €1.85 billion to purchase the loans from Nama, with the UK company’s contribution being €1.23 million.