Property group, Hines has secured planning permission for a €135 million major extension to the Liffey Valley Centre in Dublin.
South Dublin County Council has granted permission for the shopping centre extension in spite of trenchant opposition to the plan from the operator of a rival shopping centre, The Square in Tallaght.
According to Hines, the new plan is to provide a contemporary mixed leisure, entertainment and retail extension to Liffey Valley that is to be centred around a new landmark feature, a large public plaza and creating a new East-West street at the centre.
The proposed extension is to be anchored by two large retail units to either side of the public plaza.
A retail impact assessment lodged with the planning application states that the planned extension will deliver an additional €128.65 million in retail revenues for Liffey Valley centre by 2025.
The retail assessment states that by 2025, the Liffey Valley shopping centre will produce annual retail revenues of €462.56 million compared to a pre-Covid 19 estimate for 2020 of €317.7m.
Underlining the scale of the proposal, Dublin City Council has imposed a condition attached to the planning permission that Hines pay €4.2m towards the provision of public infrastructure benefiting development in the area.
Hines manages the centre for its German pension fund owner, Bayerische Versorgungskammer which purchased the centre and adjacent land in 2016 for more than €630m.
Planning documentation lodged with the planning application stated that the centre owners “have invested significantly to date to deliver improvements to the customer experience, service facilities and the public realm”.
A planning report stated: “This investment of €26 million to date is but the start with an additional €38 million designated for extensions to the existing centre and car park upgrades and the owners through the proposed development will invest approximately €135 million in the centre".
Planning consultants, Avison Young stated that the application “will not only deliver significant improvements to the offer and operation of the Liffey Valley centre, it will also completely alter the role of the centre by providing a focal point for the community and greatly enhance the visitor experience”.
Avison Young also stated that the proposed development “represents a step towards redefining Liffey Valley Centre as a prominent economic driver as a focal point for the community and as a tourist destination.
The plan comprises of a two-storey commercial extension comprising of over 46,783 sq metres.
An Bord Pleanala rejected plans for a previous major extension plan in February 2017 due mainly to the impact the proposal would have on the strategic and local road network.
The Council planning assessment into the new application states that Hines has addressed the reason for refusal by the appeals board in the previous application.
The Council granted planning in spite of the operators of The Square claiming that the extension to the Liffey Valley Centre in Dublin “is unwarranted and un-necessary”.
The Square Management Ltd told South Dublin Co Council that the proposed increase in the Liffey Valley shopping centre “will have a major impact on the Square Shopping Centre”.
The company told the council that “the proposed extension of Liffey Valley Shopping Centre will not only entice customers away from the Square town centre, it will also have a cannibalisation effect on retailers currently trading within the Square, which will have a detrimental economic effect on retailers and their staff and consequently the vitality of the town centre in Tallaght”.
The Square company also claimed that the Hines proposal “is wholly unsuitable at the proposed location” and that granting permission “would only serve to undermine the existing town centre of Tallaght and the proposed retail components of both Adamstown and Clonburris”.
The Moriarty retail and hotel group also told the Council that it had “serious concerns” concerning aspects of the Hines proposal.
The group operates three Supervalus at Balbriggan, Skerries and Palmerstown along with two hotels.