THE president of Cork Business Association (CBA) has said the planned expansion of the Penneys store on St Patrick’s St marks “a huge vote of confidence for Cork City centre” as well as retail in the city.
The retail juggernaut has confirmed its intention to redevelop and expand its flagship store in Cork.
“We have embarked on the planning process to redevelop our Patrick St store,” said a Penneys spokesperson.
“If our application is successful, we will increase the retail space by 17,000 sq ft to 54,000 sq ft, which will bring an enhanced shopping experience to our customers.
“We will plan a phased building schedule to allow the store to remain open during construction.
The whole of Cork city when the new Penneys opens. pic.twitter.com/Q5ofJIAIr8— Niecy O'Keeffe (@NiecyOKeeffe) March 24, 2021
“We have partnered with the O’Flynn Group to support on the planning and development process.”
CBA president Eoin O’Sullivan said the planned expansion would be “a great development for Cork”.
“Penneys is one of the biggest retailers in the city centre, you’d even see it after the last lockdown with the queues down the street, so it’s a very popular retailer which is doubling in size.
“It’s great for the city centre and hopefully more to come,” he said.
Independent councillor and former lord mayor Mick Finn also welcomed the news.
“This is a timely boost for Cork City and is a vote of confidence in the future of the city centre as a retail destination, particularly as high street retail is under such constant threat from online shopping and, of course, the current Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.
“Penneys has been a loyal company to Cork and employs a large local workforce.
“We must do more to encourage that loyalty and try to avoid incentivising overseas companies to set up shop only to see them depart on a whim, leaving staff out in the cold.
“Kudos to the Penneys group, and we look forward to the unveiling of their new Irish flagship store,” he said.
It is understood that, if granted planning permission, the new development will expand Penneys’ presence along St Patrick’s St and will include retail spread over three floors.
Speaking to The Echo, Richard Jacob of Idaho café on Caroline St welcomed the proposed expansion of Penneys.
“This is great news for the city. The fact that development will start and the store will remain open is such a bonus,” he said.
“Hopefully, this vote of confidence will be an impetus to the sale of the Debenhams lease.
“A great day and the good news this city needs.”
The news regarding the proposed expansion follows the commencement of a new city centre strategy, commissioned by Cork City Council, which will provide the framework for how the city centre will grow and develop in the coming years.