THE SQUARE SHOPPING Centre in Tallaght is clear to proceed with a major expansion plan after it won a court battle with its primary tenant, Dunnes Stores.
In 2014, An Bord Pleanála gave the green light for a €40 million extension at the shopping centre consisting of 200,000 sq ft of extra retail space.
The project was also to include a multi-storey car park over six levels that would have more than 800 car parking spaces. The extension was to be built at the centre’s northern car park area.
Permission to build the extension was granted to Indego, a company which owns about 70% of the units at the Square. Construction was originally to begin in 2015 with the extension to open this year.
Some 300 jobs were expected to be created during the building phase of the project. The finished development is expected to create 400 jobs, primarily in new retail operations, with the centre hoping to attract a Penneys, among other stores, to the location.
However, Dunnes Stores, the largest shop at the Square and the centre’s ‘anchor tenant’, was unhappy with the extension and continued to object to it going ahead.
The supermarket said that its shoppers would be inconvenienced as they would be forced to travel further as a result of the new extension.
Indego and two other companies, including a subsidiary of state bad bank Nama, went to the High Court to overrule Dunnes’ objections – accusing it of deploying blocking tactics with its claims.
The supermarket had suggested that it had acquired rights to use the car park without it also having to own the property.
But a judge found against Dunnes – declaring that its customers did not have an irrevocable right to park at the site.
He found that the plaintiffs had the right to develop the northern car park area and that Dunnes didn’t have any rights beyond those expressly stated in its lease.
A spokesman for the Square declined to comment when asked by Fora when the development will begin.
However on its website, the Square centre said that “discussions have already started with a number of interested parties for the anchor and medium space retail users”.
The court judgement also notes that the roll-out of the project “seems largely ready to commence”.
“Indeed, it has been suggested that there is now some urgency to starting into the development works in order that the centre can maintain and enhance its competitiveness,” it said.
“Also, it is claimed, (the) commercial interests of the existing tenants at the centre will be advanced by the increased visitor footfall that the planned refurbishments are expected to bring.”
The Square was opened in 1990 and currently includes around 570,000 sq ft of retail space.