Ennis will have its first major out of town shopping complex when the new ?10m centre at Roslevan opens in April.
The 4,650 sq m centre is located in this fast growing residential area which is targeted to have a population of 7,000 by 2012.
The development marks another stage in the remarkable expansion of Ennis which is set to grow from country town to small city over the next 10 years with its population rising from 27,000 at present to 35,000.
The Roslevan centre has been developed by Ennis businesspeople Noel Connellan, Sean Lyne and Patrick Vaughan who have a number of other developments both here and in Northern Ireland. "We were anxious to offer Ennis and Roslevan quality convenience shopping with a village ambience to enhance the residential character of the area," said Noel Connellan.
"This well-designed two-storey centre will complement the residential character of Roslevan. It will also maintain community focus and identity in addition to offering some really useful neighbourhood services," he added.
Interest in the centre is phenomenal, according to letting agents DNG O'Sullivan Hurley. "This is because of its location and its proximity to the new Ennis by-pass," said Cormac O'Sullivan. "Not only does the centre offer convenience shopping, it has spacious parking and easy access for both customer and supplier."
Cormac O'Sullivan said that the developers' objective is to offer the shopper a complement of convenience shops that will meet the needs of the Roslevan area. Ninety per-cent of all units are already let. In addition to Gala the centre will accommodate a pharmacy, butcher, pub/restaurant, beauty shop and creche.
"We could have let the units many times over but we are committed to developing the right balance. Only a few units remain and these will be snapped up before our April opening," he added.
Gala Superstore is the anchor tenant with 1,300 sq m of retail space which incorporates an 743 sq m supermarket together with wine store and butcher. Gala Group chief executive, Tom Keogh, said 2005 will see the upgrading of the Gala Superstore image and the first of these stores will open in Roslevan in April.
The store will be operated by Tom Liddy, a current Gala Retailer who runs two Gala Stores in Ennis. "Tom has been one of the mainstays of the Gala group over the past number of years," Mr Keogh said.
Gala through its association with the Stonehouse Group last year announced a partnership deal with the Superquinn Group. "This association will see the excellent range of Superquinn fresh product, including fruit and vegetables and meat, available in this new store," Mr Keogh added.
Built on the site of the former Roslevan Arms Hotel, the new shopping centre has been constructed by Pat Keogh Construction of Ennis. The Roslevan/Tulla Road area on the eastern side of the town has been designated as one of the main residential growth areas by the Town Council in the Ennis & Environs Development Plan 2002.