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Long vacant Tralee town centre Dunnes premises has been sold

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The former Dunnes Stores outlet on Tralee's Bridge St which has been sold.

The former Dunnes Stores outlet on Tralee's Bridge St which has been sold.

The former Dunnes Stores outlet on Tralee's Bridge St which has been sold.

kerryman

The former Dunnes Stores premises on Bridge Street in Tralee town centre has been sold to an unidentified buyer.

Real estate agents Property Partners Daly Ó Sé have confirmed that the sale of the long vacant property has been agreed.

Neither the price or the identity of the buyer have been revealed as yet.

Once one of the town centre’s busiest shops the landmark town centre property has now been vacant for well over a decade.

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In recent years several retail chains – including Danish furniture chain Jysk who ultimately opened an outlet at Manor West Retail Park – had held talks with the Irish supermarket chain with a view to renting the extensive town centre retail unit.

Dunnes Stores had previously come under heavy criticism over its ownership of large vacant premises in key locations in towns and cities around the country.

The vacant Tralee unit was raised during a Seanad debate on the need to reform Ireland’s commercial rates in early 2017.

Clare-based Senator Martin Conway specifically cited the former Dunnes Stores outlet on Bridge Street as an example and said, in such cases, the owners of such units had no incentive to see them occupied.

Senator Conway said that in some cases, owners would actively seek to keep the premises empty in a bid to lessen or prevent competition.

“The existence of this vacant unit in the centre of Tralee is choking development in the area. It is fair and reasonable to expect a successful company like Dunnes Stores to make a contribution towards the rates bill for what I would describe as a derelict site,” he said at the time.

In March 2019 March several Tralee Municipal District councillors also hit out at Dunnes over the chain’s handling of the vacant unit.

Labour’s Cllr Terry O’Brien accused the retail giant of holding the town to ransom while Independent Cllr Sam Locke said that the retailer had “thrown” council overtures “back in our face, time and time again”.

In April 2021 Cllr Deirdre Ferris called for the building – which she said was having a negative impact on neighbouring premises – to be added to Kerry County Council’s derelict sites register but she was told by council management that it didn’t meet the criteria of a derelict site.

Previously – prior to a change in legislation in January 2021 – in rural towns the owners of vacant premises could claim a 100 per cent refund on rates payable.

Owners of vacant properties can still obtain a discount on the rate they owe but the level of discount is now linked directly to the value of the property, with larger premises now given a far lower credit on their rates.

For example for properties worth between €50,000 and €100,000 a 50 per cent “vacancy credit” applies while properties worth €100,000 or more – the category the Tralee Dunnes outlet is likely to have fallen into – can now avail of a 25 per cent credit.

It has previously been reported that Dunnes Store operated a policy whereby strict criteria are imposed on potential tenants of properties it owns to ensure they were not occupied by potential competitors.


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