With most of Cork’s suburban retail parks now at or close to full occupancy, the arrival of UK homewares chain The Range as the anchor tenant at Eastgate Retail Park sees another c 60,000 sq ft taken up, and a new brand name enter the recovering Munster retail fray, with a product range spanning 65,000 items.
Set up in 1989, The Range has 130 UK stores, and expanded into Limerick’s Childers Road Retail Park in August. It also plans to open in Dublin, and is now set to open in Cork on January 6, where it will employ up to 80 across 16 departments, including arts and crafts, household, cafe and DIY. In Limerick, it took a lot of its 70-plus staff off the Liver Register.
Fit out now for its second Irish outlet in Cork has just started at the 60,000 sq ft unit, with garden section. It will be the unit’s first-ever occupier, and a significant anchor for Eastgate, who in the early 2000s had eyed B&Q.
The Range will bookend the span of units at Eastgate, with one of the country’s largest Harvey Norman stores, some 48,000 sq ft, occupied at other end of the retail park just east of Cork city and Jack Lynch Tunnel. Last year EZ Living took 15,000 sq ft at Eastgate, and also in situ is Tile Haven who occupy 7,500 sq ft.
The retail park opened in the early 2000s, as part of a mixed use development on a site of c 120 acres, developed by O’Flynn Construction who also developed offices, motor mall and smaller shop and office units.
The Business Park element of Eastgate spans 84 acres, with 800,000 sq ft of office delivered. The occupier line up includes Lilly, Laya Healthcare, DPS Engineering, PFH and the CIF. Planning permission exists for the development of additional modern office buildings, note letting agents Savills and Cushman & Wakefield.
Leigh Hegarty of Savills and Cushman & Wakefield are in legals with a further retail occupier for 13,500 sq ft at Eastgate; three other 10,000 sq ft units are available, at likely rents in excess of €15psf, suitable for toys, bathrooms, furniture, kitchens, sports, electrical, etc.
The Range is pitched at the mid-market, and company founder Chris Dawson who’d started as a market trader in Egland in 1989 said Limerick was their first store to open outside of the UK, and “following the successful launch of our new store in Limerick, we are really excited to continue our Irish expansion in Cork in early 2017. The new store will be the first of many to open in the New Year and is a great step in continuing the company’s international progression and growth.”
The location of the company’s anticipated Dublin store has not yet been revealed. The Range also opened in Northern Ireland’s Braidwater Retail Park, taking 65,000 sq ft.
In Limerick, The Range took over a 55,000 sq ft store vacated by Atlantic Homeware at the Childers Retail Park.
That 250,000 sq ft park, spanning a mix of retail, was sold early in 2016 to Irish Life for €46m, with a €3.2m rent roll, after rental terms had been agreed with The Range. Among the underbidders on the Childers Park was Euromillions winner Dolores McNamara, who has been active in the purchase of other commercial and retail property investments.
The Range’s arrival to Eastgate bring that park’s 150,000 sq ft retail component closer to full occupancy, while its neighbourhood centre includes occupiers such as Spar, Supermacs, Bank of Ireland, Little Island Pharmacy, KFC Drive Thru, and Costa Coffee, which serves the Little Island and Euro Business Park business community. Adjoining the retail park is Eastgate Automall which includes BMW, Mercedes, Honda amongst marques.
The new Cork Range store will create up to 80 jobs, from store and department managers to warehouse/admin staff.
The boost to Eastgate comes as retail parks in Mahon and Blackpool are at full occupancy, also close to full are the more diversified retail parks in Ballincollig and at the Kinsale Road, and Fota Retail Park is also continuing to attract new traders.
Details: Savills 021-4271371
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved