THE first major retail opening of the new extension to Laois Shopping Centre is finally ready to open albeit two years later than originally planned.
The first phase of the redevelopment opened last year with the underground car park but now Tesco Extra Store will open it’s doors next Tuesday, April 26.
The new store will be on of the largest stores in the country and will be triple the size of their existing shop The expansion has also created 93 new jobs in the town, bringing the number of people in employed in Tesco Portlaoise to over 250. The store will trade 24hours a day, 7 days a week.
“The new Tesco Extra store will enhance the towns’ retail infrastructure and help copper fasten Portlaoise’s place as the retail hub of the midlands,” said John Nolan, General Manager, Tesco Portlaoise.
Next Tuesday, April 26 will also see the opening of three levels of free covered car parking providing over 1,200 spaces, as well as a new pedestrian entrance to the shopping centre adjacent to Dunnes Stores, Kyle Centre.
The completion of the extension to the centre and car park was thrown into doubt as construction came to a standstill in 2008. A victim of the financial crisis and property crash, retailers in the shopping centre feared the suspension of works at the site would also spell the end for their business.
However, in late 2009, Lindat Limited applied to Laois County Council to downsize the development and work began again on site.
But now, the redevelopment of Laois Shopping Centre is one of the only retail projects currently being constructed in Ireland. The full scheme is scheduled to completed later this year, having created over 250 jobs throughout the construction programme.
Penneys are due to commence fit out of their extended store which will almost treble the size of their store.
When complete the number of jobs in the shopping centre could treble to over 700 retail jobs, providing a significant boost to employment in Portlaoise and the surrounding counties.
Pat Power of Harcourt Developments commented; “We are delighted to have reached this milestone with the extension of Laois Shopping Centre with the impending opening of one of the country’s largest Tesco Stores. Laois Shopping Centre has been successfully trading for almost 20 years and already boasts a significant footfall however with the extension of the centre we expect this to increase substantially as the centre draws on a much wider catchment area. We feel the extended centre will attract new shoppers to Portlaoise which can only benefit the town overall. ”
Commenting on the progress of the scheme Karl Stewart of letting agents DTZ Sherry FitzGerald advised, “There is a strong demand for a scheme such as Laois Shopping Centre which will act as the main shopping hub for Laois.
He said they would be announcing other retailers, who would commence fit out soon.