Wednesday 22 May 2019

Old Dunnes site is finally sold

New owners negotiating with potential tenants, including major retailer

Pádraig Byrne

Speculation has already begun to mount in relation to the Old Dunnes Stores building on Rafter Street after it emerged that the sale of the building went through last week. The building was purchased by developer Martin Sinnott from Blackwater last week for an undisclosed fee, having previously gone on the market in April of last year with a guide price of €450,000. It is understood that negotiations are already under way with at least one major retailer about becoming an anchor tenant for the building.

The news has been unanimously welcomed by shoppers and business people alike in the town as they hope the building can now play a pivotal role in the regeneration of the town centre. The old Dunnes building has been lying idle of in excess of ten years at this stage and for many was regarded as a black hole, sucking the life out of the centre of the town. Mr Sinnott has previous experience of redeveloping units and letting them out to national chains, having done so on a couple of occasions on the Main Street in Wexford.

Workers were on site in Rafter Street building yesterday afternoon as they start preliminary works for a complete overhaul.

Mr Sinnott was able to confirm that talks are ongoing with at least one major retailer about becoming an anchor tenant for the building and how works proceed will be dependant on negotiations as well as planning permission. It is hoped that a large anchor tenant will take the majority of the building, if not the plan will be to split the building into four or five smaller retail units.

‘Basically, we’re looking to bring in retailers to breathe some badly needed life back into Enniscorthy town centre,’ Mr Sinnott said. ‘We’re in early discussions at this stage with one larger retailer and Michael O’Leary from Sherry Fitzgerald O’Leary Kinsella will be handling expressions of interest going forward.’

Mr Kinsella said that work will get underway immediately and he is hopeful that this will be the first of a series of positive announcements concerning the town centre site. Having been vacant for so long, the building will need quite a bit of work and it is understood that large parts are to be demolished and rebuilt again.

Chamber President Maree Lyng welcomed the sale of the building which she said was a further indication of Enniscorthy’s resurgence as an area of commercial activity. ‘The empty Dunnes site has blighted commercial activity in the Rafter Street area for some time, but now that it’s sold, I am satisfied that it will generate a new lease of life not just for those who may occupy the building, but for other retailers in the immediate area as well.’

Enniscorthy Guardian