£100m Swords centre planned


PLANS to provide the north Dublin suburb of Swords with a new commercial focus moved a stage closer this week. A planning application for a major commercial complex, which will include a shopping centre, bar, restaurants, offices, multiplex cinema and a multi-storey car-park, was lodged with Fingal County Council.

The second phase of the development will incorporate a 150-bedroom hotel and leisure centre.

Flynn and O'Flaherty Properties is handling the £100 million development, which will occupy a 20-acre site between Main Street and the Swords by-pass.

The council, which is moving its headquarters to Swords, has already given approval for the land to be used for a commercial project. As the site adjoins the Superquinn shopping centre, the development will provide a much needed extension of the commercial and recreational facilities in the fast growing suburb.

Toal O Muire of architects (O Muire Smyth, which designed the new scheme, said the practice collaborated closely with the council to produce a centre which would not only cater for shoppers but would provide a range of activities at night. The leisure facilities, such as the cinemas, bars and restaurants, would be wrapped around the shopping centre to give it urban character.

The first phase of the scheme, totalling almost 430,000 square feet, will include a shopping centre with a floor area of 220,000 square feet. The three main anchors will occupy about 125,000 square feet and the remaining space will be used for 49 unit shops. There will be two storeys of offices over the shops and bar at the front of the site. Several pedestrian walks will link the complex to the town centre.

Flynn and O'Flaherty has also sought planning permission for eight cinemas, a creche, oratory and a five-storey car-park to accommodate 718 spaces; a further 784 cars will be accommodated in a surface car-park.

The developers are preparing a planning application for the second phase which will include the hotel, conference centre and recreational facilities. A number of hotel groups have approached Flynn and O'Flaherty about operating the hotel.

If everything goes according to plan, construction work is expected to start in the middle of 1997 with the retail and leisure elements scheduled to open in the autumn of 1998. The developers are being advised by Hamilton Osborne King and Lambert Smith Hampton.

The promoters, who are headed by Jimmy Flynn and Noel O'Flaherty, paid £3.2 million for the 20-acre site. The company said its scheme would not simply be a replica of many of the long established shopping centres. It planned to provide a comprehensive commercial development with a range of day and nighttime uses which were compatible with a town centre.

Flynn and O'Flaherty is one of the largest housebuilders in Dublin and will shortly commence work on a major scheme at Kimmage Manor; it is also completing an office park at Clonskeagh.