Kildare Village is fighting for a flagship store to protect its multimillion-euro expansion plan

The retail outlet says the omission of an anchor store could upend the project.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

THE OWNER OF Kildare Village designer retail outlet has said the commercial viability of its latest extension is in doubt after it was ordered to cull an anchor tenant store from the multimillion-euro development.

As previously reported by Fora, An Bord Pleanála and Kildare County Council ordered Value Retail Dublin, the company behind the development, to remove a shop dubbed ‘unit 104′ from the so-called ‘Phase III’ scheme which is expected to cost between €50 million and €70 million.

The company was granted approval for 29 new shops, two new restaurants and 460 car parking spaces. It was ordered to use the space for the omitted store to instead provide better “linkages” between the outlet - home to brands like Armani, Prada and Michael Kors – and Kildare town centre.

Value Retail Dublin recently submitted a new application seeking to amend the planning approval in order to include the culled shop in the scheme.

In a planning report prepared by real estate advisory Avison Young, the retail group said the unit – earmarked for an anchor tenant – “is essential for the commercial viability” of the Phase III project and that its absence “creates difficulties in relation to creating a legible mall and ensuring the development has a sense of completion for visitors”.

“Unit 104 is a vital element of the permitted Phase III scheme and the omission of unit 104 would have detrimental effects on the commercial viability of (Kildare Village),” the report stated.

Consultants at Avison Young, on behalf of Value Retail Dublin, explained that the store would serve as a “flagship ‘visual stop’” at the end of a new retail street.

“The placing of unit 104 at the end of the street is a fundamental retail design theory… It is an important retail concept to anchor the end of a shopping street with a distinctive flagship unit,” it said.

“Without Unit 104 acting as a visual stop … visitors to (Kildare Village) will face an empty and unfinished space where the scheme will abruptly end,” the report stated.

Kildare County Council, and later An Bord Pleanála, had ordered the removal of unit 104 from the development so the space could instead be used to provide better “linkages” between the mall and nearby Kildare Town.

Value Retail Dublin has said that any footpath connecting through the site would need to “overcome a level differential of three metres, thus making any ramp design inordinately long and difficult for use by wheelchair users”.

It has proposed that lands at the north of the outlet, bordering a local primary school, “would result in a better solution” to connecting the retail outlet with the main town.

Get our Daily Briefing with the morning’s most important headlines for innovative Irish businesses.