Re: Re: The Opera Centre

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Double blow for Limerick retail projects (Limerick Leader)

By Petula Martyn

MARKS and Spencer will not be the anchor tenant at the Opera Centre after dropping plans to open a store at the city-centre development, according to weekend media reports.
And Limerick has been dealt a further blow with confirmation that construction work on the Parkway Valley project on Dublin Road will not recommence until 2011 at the earliest.

Marks & Spencer had been in discussions to acquire one anchor store in Limerick after the British chain was refused planning at the Crescent Shopping Centre which was their preferred location.

The €350 million Opera Centre is owned by developers Jerry O’Reilly, David Courtney and Terry Sweeney, and Anglo Irish Bank has a 50 per cent share in the development. The developers behind the Opera Centre had been seeking to sign 40 retailers to the retail centre over the next two years, and it was hoped that Marks & Spencer, as an anchor tenant, would have been a big draw for other retailers.

The shopping centre on Patrick Street was granted planning permission for a second occasion by An Bord Pleanala in July.

It is not known if the decision by Marks & Spencer to withdraw their interest in the Opera Centre will affect the opening of the shopping centre which is expected to be built by 2012/13.

This story was first carried in yesterday’s Sunday Tribune. I don’t know how reliable these “retail sources” are but if true it would be a pretty odd decision given that the opera centre would seem to be tailor made for Marks & Spencer.

I know that the Crescent shopping centre had to offer fairly generous concessions to get M&S to commit to the planned store there. Maybe those behind the Opera Centre need to sweet talk Marks & Spencer a bit more!

The failure to secure a big name anchor would obviously raise further doubts over the future of this project!

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