Planning has been granted for a massive expansion of the Penneys store on Cork city's main trading thoroughfare, a development that the president of Cork Business Association (CBA) hopes will “galvanise the city as a whole”.
Cork City Council has approved plans submitted by Primark Limited and O’Flynn Construction (Cork) Unlimited Company for the expansion of the store on Patrick St.
The plans will see the retail space of the store increase in size by 17,000 sq ft to 54,000 sq ft, with the project encompassing a site that stretches from Robert St to Cook St, and from Patrick Street to Oliver Plunkett St.
The planning application for the proposed development was submitted last August, with Cork City Council submitting a request for further information before making a decision on the application.
Whilst the notification of decision outlining the conditions attached to the city council’s approval of the development has yet to be published to the council’s website, Damien O’Neill, head of Penneys Ireland, confirmed that the application has progressed and is now awaiting final approval.
“Pending final approval, it will mean doubling the retail space of our current store, creating a true flagship retail destination in the heart of Cork city centre,” Mr O’Neill said.
CBA president, Kevin Herlihy, of the Herlihy Centra Group, welcomed the grant of conditional planning.
“On behalf of Cork Business Association, we’re absolutely delighted,” Mr Herlihy told. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Mr Herlihy particularly welcomed that vacant units on Cook St are set to be brought back into use as part of the development.
“I think it will benefit the traders on Cook St and it’s fantastic for the city overall too especially on top of the former Roches Stores building coming on the market.
“It’s [Penneys] probably one of the busiest retailers in the city as it is. They’re adding around 50% of their square footage onto the shop. It’s going to bring more and more people in.
“It’ll definitely galvanise the business community and it will galvanise the city as a whole because the city has suffered in recent years because of the likes of shopping centres etc, which has happened in every city in Ireland, in every city in Europe.
“The more vibrancy we can get back into the city, the better.”