Jobs boost for the county

Construction to start on € 30m Tralee project in September

SIMON BROUDER sbrouder@kerryman.ie

WORK on a multi-million Euro shopping centre on the site of John Mitchels GAA club in Tralee will get underway this September creating at least 200 construction jobs. It was confirmed this week that funding for the project has been secured from private investment company Alburn, Tesco have signed on as anchor tenants and a building firm has been contracted and is ready to move onto the site in September.

Construction of the shopping centre can commence immediately after the John Mitchels Club move to their new site in Skehanagh, on the outskirts of Tralee.

Development of the club's new sports centre and four pitches had stalled for several months but work there has now resumed at full pace and John Mitchels GAA club board have been assured their new home will be completed by September.

Once the new facility is complete the John Mitchels GAA Club will vacate their current site on Tralee's John Joe Sheehy Road, the club's home since the late 1950s.

Construction of the € 30 million 140,000 square foot retail centre will commence immediately after the club vacates the site.

Work on the retail centre, which will have a 90,000 square foot Tesco outlet as its anchor store, will create at least 200 jobs during construction phase, which is expected to last just over a year.

It's expected that the centre will employ over 300 people when it opens for business in December 2011.

Local builders and suppliers can expect a huge economic boost from the project as can Tralee Town Council which will sees its coffers swollen by hundreds of thousands in additional rates payments when the centre opens. Additionally, the shopping centre will not be subject to the Tralee Ring Road development levy as it was granted planning permission before the levy was introduced.

The site was originally intended to form part of a massive retail and business complex incorporating the present headquarters of Kerry GAA Austin Stack Park.

That plan required the construction of a new stadium for the GAA at Ballybeggan Racecourse, which was to be provided in a turnkey arrangement in exchange for Austin Stack Park.

Following the economic crash the consortium behind the scheme, led by developers Seamus O'Halloran and John J. Casey, temporary shelved the Austin Stack Park and Ballybeggan aspects of the plan which may yet be completed should the economy recover sufficiently.

The developers do not own Ballybeggan Park, however, they retain the option to buy the racetrack for €40 million until 2012, following a deal with shareholders there in September 2007.

The John Mitchels development essentially comprises of the first phase of the original masterplan which received planning permission in 2008.

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