Dublin shopping centre redevelopment in danger as talks fail
Developer claims retailer is making revamp ‘financially and logistically unfeasible’
Talks between MM Capital and Tesco have collapsed. Photograph: Tom Honan
Talks between the company behind the redevelopment of Phibsborough shopping centre and Tesco have collapsed, endangering the redevelopment of what is regarded as one of Dublin’s ugliest buildings.
Talks between the retailer and MM Capital, which bought the shopping centre in 2016, started last month. The developer had accused Tesco, which has a large outlet in the centre, of “effectively blocking” the redevelopment by making it “financially and logistically unfeasible”.
MM Capital founder Derek Poppinga said the talks had been characterised by “weeks of foot-dragging and lack of engagement”.
“Unfortunately, we’re going backwards now with Tesco,” he said.
MM Capital claims Tesco has “added new demands”, including that additional planning permissions be secured, “which could have a significant negative impact” on the public plaza element of the project.
Mr Poppinga described these planning permissions as “impossible”.
“We’ll need to review next steps, which will either result in the project being shelved or we will have to undertake a significant redesign without Tesco’s co-operation, which is hugely disappointing. The major loser in this redesign will be the local community, as the plaza will be most impacted by the necessary changes,” he said.
We cannot facilitate a redevelopment that jeopardises our ability to trade from our store
Tesco rejected the suggestion it had made new demands, saying it was engaging with the developer “in good faith”.
The €50 million revamp of the shopping centre was approved by An Bord Pleanála last year. However, Tesco’s consent is needed for right-of-way access to the site.
It is understood that the developer is considering legal action against Tesco over its stance, which the company has previously claimed is endangering the entire regeneration project.
The rejuvenation plan for the suburb includes the redevelopment of Dalymount Park. Bohemians FC, who play at the ground, plan to include a main entrance and civic space adjoining the stadium on lands owned by MM Capital. The club have called on the parties to “resolve their differences”, or else plans for the stadium would have to be adjusted.
A spokeswoman for Tesco Ireland said up until Wednesday it had been awaiting documentation from the developer. It said the existing proposal would mean it could not take deliveries to its store, “which is completely unreasonable”.
“We cannot facilitate a redevelopment that jeopardises our ability to trade from our store with consequences for our staff, customers and the wider community that would follow if our store was rendered inoperable,” she said.
“At a meeting the developer agreed to lodge an amended planning permission to facilitate Tesco’s right to deliver to the front of the store, a position upon which he now appears to be reneging through the media. Our position has been on record throughout the very extended planning process and remains the same today, with no fresh demands made by us.”