Olympic-sized indoor ice arena and massive extension planned for Dublin shopping centre
Property firm Hines has applied for planning permission to build a huge expansion of Liffey Valley Shopping Centre in west Dublin.
The plan includes an additional 22,000 sq m (236,000 sq ft) of net retail space; 1,800 car parking spaces; a major new civic plaza; and a 2,500-seat Olympic-sized indoor ice arena capable of holding "international ice skating competitions, ice hockey matches and ice entertainment performances".
If the scheme gets the go-ahead it "has the potential to create up to 450 construction employment opportunities during development approximately 1,500 full and part-time jobs upon completion, bringing the total number of people employed within the centre to over 3,700", Hines said.
The plan will be the second big extension of Liffey Valley in recent years after the so-called 'West End Development'. That €26m development, which is due for completion later this year, is barely half the size of the latest plan for the centre.
It is also the latest major product for Hines since it ramped up its Irish operations after the crash. The US firm is already developing a new town centre-style development at Cherrywood in south Dublin.
It took a controlling stake in Liffey Valley along with other owners Grosvenor Britain & Ireland and HSBC private clients in 2013.
Hines Ireland's senior managing director, Brian Moran, said the plan is a "significant yet timely planning proposal for Liffey Valley, underpinned by evidence of emerging demand for this scale of expansion in the future".
"We are submitting the application now as a strategic forward planning initiative aimed at the sustainable development of Liffey Valley in line with future market needs," he added.
While Liffey Valley has been hugely successful since it opened in 1998, it was overtaken by Dundrum Town Centre as the pre-eminent shopping centre in the country.
Hines, however, have been aggressively improving it since the firm took over the day-to-day running of the centre.
"Over the past 24 months we have been cultivating a new vision for Liffey Valley via a series of works in the centre and the western end extension," Mr Moran said.
"Already a leading employer and contributor to the local community, this new project will maintain Liffey Valley's integral role in the local economic development of west Dublin over the next decade.
"Now is the right time to forward plan to ensure future retail demand is met within this strategically-located regional shopping centre," he said.
Hines' director of development, Kevin Ryan, said the new plaza will create "a new sense of place and identity to the centre while linking into the existing facilities".