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Aldi agree €5m deal for Bray town centre site

The publicly quoted Grafton Group has agreed a deal for the sale of a town centre site in Bray, Co Wicklow, to discount retailer Aldi for more than €5m.

This works out at over €3.4 million per acre for the 1.5 acre site and provides a welcome boost to the development land market in the north Wicklow/ South Dublin area.

Occupied by Grafton's builder suppliers subsidiary Heiton Buckley, the site is located on Castle Street, just across the road from Superquinn's shopping centre on the northern approach to Bray's Main St.

As well as the prime town centre location, another key factor behind the relatively strong price in the current market is the relatively few Aldi stores in the south Dublin area.

Although Aldi has about 70 stores around the country, its only existing south Dublin store is in Nutgrove, Rathfarnham, and it has also agreed a deal with the receiver of the Fleming group to take a unit in the Boulevard development in Sandyford Industrial Estate.

With the downturn in the property market the cash-rich German discounters have been in a stronger position to negotiate better deals with landowners and developers.

Meanwhile developers are now targeting this retail sector in their efforts to generate funds from land banks which had previously been earmarked for upmarket residential and retail projects.

For instance the Pizarro consortium recently received the green light to install a discount store in the former Industrial Yarns site on the Dublin Road just a few hundred yards to the north of the Castle Street site. This now seems likely to be taken by Aldi's main rival Lidl.

Both Aldi and Lidl had been targeted to acquire the site from the consortium, which comprised the Kelly, McCormack and Flynn development families, the Newlyn Group, Durkan New Homes and Pierse.

Durkan is also believed to be considering locating a discount store in its shopping centre next to the AIB branch in Stillorgan.

The consortium bought the 62-acre former Bray Golf Club and the adjoining Industrial Yarns site from Dwyer Nolan for almost €90m in 2003.

Irish Independent