Demand is far outstripping supply in Galway City’s main shopping thoroughfare, Shop St, with just one retail property currently available for lease.
According to Alan Maxwell of DNG Maxwell Heaslip and Leonard auctioneers in the city, property owners can now afford to be selective in who they choose to lease their premises to as city centre units continue to be in demand.
The only premises currently available for lease is the old O2 shop at No 1 Shop St, and according to Mr Maxwell that has only recently come on the market due to the amalgamation with Three.
“There is no issue whatsoever in Zone A in Galway City. It’s about who you want to pick more than anything else. People are anxious to secure the best covenant they can, someone like Boots or a bank. There is no issue with retail space in the main street.
“Shops are only unoccupied for a reason other than demand. They are either in between leases, for renovation or in the middle of a handover.”
Galway’s impressive figures are the envy of several shopping towns around the country, but according to Galway City Council, a lot of that is down to a 50% rebate placed by councillors on the rates owed on empty properties.
“Previously you used to get a 100% rebate on your rates if the premises was empty. Now that has reduced to 50%. The local councillors have that discretion in determining what that rate of rebate would be,” said council spokesman Gary McMahon.
“Previously it was not a problem for property owners, if they kept a premises empty they had no liability and rates. Now it will still cost you, you’ll have to pay 50% of the rates.
“But Galway City centre premises are very attractive to retailers in particular. Galway has not been unscathed during the recession, but it has not been as badly effected as other places of a similar size.”
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