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Centre to open by third quarter of year

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Work continues on the Bray Town Centre site off Main Street

Work continues on the Bray Town Centre site off Main Street

Work continues on the Bray Town Centre site off Main Street

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Developers of Bray Town Centre have said that their 'most pessimistic' date for 'practical completion' is July of this year.

They said in their report to district manager Tom Murphy that fit-out will take three to four months after that. The developers said that their own businesses, including Elephant and Castle and the cinema, could open earlier than others.

This followed news late last year that the project was behind schedule.

Mr Murphy said that activity on the site has ramped up since Christmas and is operating at full tilt.

At the December district meeting, he had advised members developers Oakmount had indicated that a previous practical completion date of the end of December wouldn't be met.

'Since then they have discussed a work programme with contractors Glenbrier with a view to nailing down a firm date,' said Mr Murphy.

Mr Murphy told members that officials had gone back to Oakmount and told them that the members were seeking a credible practical completion date with no further drifting away from that date.

'Oakmount indicated that their most pessimistic practical completion date would be June 2020 and they hope that they will be able to bring that back,' said Mr Murphy. 'I know you members will be disappointed with this new date, we do hope it will be sooner.'

Some of the reasons for the delay included the fact that the architects went into liquidation without any warning, there was a delay in procuring materials, and wet and windy weather leading to almost six weeks of no laying of blocks.

He said that the maintaining of the facade on the Main Street has proven to be a difficult challenge, and was a condition of planning. Mr Murphy said that it is a much slower job than anticipated, with factors including a confined space, and a shortage of steel installation crews, as well as remedial works to an adjoining property which hadn't been anticipated.

Mr Murphy said that 'one would think' that the car park would open as soon as any business starts operating on the site.

He said that leases have been signed on several units, terms sent out to several, and that interest in the remaining units has been 'excellent' with a large number of viewings. Mr Murphy said that the branding is now on hoarding around the site.

Cllr Joe Behan said that by the sound of things some of the centre will hopefully be open next September. He sought clarification on whether the car park would open with the first units.

'I would certainly expect that having waited this long to have car parking available to the people of the town that it's a very serious priority for you and us,' he said.

'We never seem to hear who will be the anchor,' said Cllr Behan. 'We hear about great interest and people coming and looking, but who are the anchor tenants going to be? They are the ones who will attract other businesses into the shops and the town.'

'It's no craic for the manager to give bad news, but this is bad news,' said Cllr Dermot 'Daisy' O'Brien. He said that if the anchor tenants were known, there would be a sense of it being 'worth waiting for'.

'I don't believe that any significant part of the development should be open without parking available on-site,' aid Cllr Anne Fortune.

She said that the identity of the anchor tenants is the 64 million dollar question. She said that if it is known, then maybe other potential tenants would get excited about it. 'We need to have a bit of a lift, not bad news,' she said.

She wasn't overly concerned about the delay.

'We have been waiting 20 years, and are just six months behind schedule. The whole development is great news and if we have to wait another few months, well and good.'

Cathaoirleach Cllr Steven Matthews said that he was disappointed and had an earlier date in mind, but was not disappointed that the centre is actually close to opening.

He was delighted that the facade is slowing them down, as that means they are doing it properly. He said that the contractor has a reputation for working with older buildings.

'You do run into some difficulties with staffing, weather and so on, with a project like this,' said Cllr Matthews. 'They are working flat out and Bray will have its town centre opened.'

Mr Murphy said that he is fairly confident that if the owners chose to open their own brands he thinks it can be taken that the car park will be open at that stage.

He said that Savils are in charge of the marketing and this is their area of expertise. 'They are at the advanced stages of negotiations with anchors. A number of leases for other tenants are being signed.'

Mr Murphy said that officials have pressed for information about the anchor tenants and it's one of the first questions they ask Oakmount every month.


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