Change-of-use sought for a Meadows & Byrne

The founding premises of homewares specialist store, Meadows & Byrne, in Cork City’s Academy Street will only be vacated and leased to restaurant chain, Nando’s, if planning is secured for change-of-use.

Having approached the homeware chain in recent months, after scouting an adjacent building in the city’s trendy ‘Huguenot Quarter,’ Nando’s have recently submitted for planning permission for the historic, 19th century Academy Street property, which measures 4,000 sq ft over two floors.

Founded in 1987, Nando’s specialises in Afro-Portuguese fare, and is represented in 1,000 outlets in 35 countries and also has a Cork presence in Mahon Point. It opened in Dublin in 2011.

Cork’s No 22 Academy Street was bought in 1993 by Freda Hayes, of Meadows and Byrne, and later expanded via a swap with the Gingerbread restaurant, on French Church Street, which relocated to Paul Street.

The Academy Street building, in red brick and limestone, was previously a Methodist church and is next to the Half Moon Street development, which is now home to many hundreds of Apple employees, as well as facing the Opera Lane shopping development, and Crawford Art Gallery.

Ownership will remain with Meadows and Byrne/Freda Hayes, it’s understood.

She bought it for Ir£240,000 in 1993, in a deal with Hamilton Osborne King: HOK’s modern incarnation, Savills, negotiated this deal on behalf of Nando’s.

Meadows & Byrne may consider another, larger Cork City premises, if the product and price are right, says M&B director, Robert Rearden: their business model requires stores of at least 5,000 sq ft.

“It’s not that we are leaving Cork, in any case. We have stores in Clonakilty, Fota, Blarney and Mahon,” said Mr Rearden: they enlarged their Mahon Point shopping centre presence in October, 2014, to over 5,000 sq ft.

There are 14 Meadows & Byrne stores nationwide, with no immediate plans to open any more in 2015, Mr Rearden said.

Under the Blarney Woollen Mills umbrella, the group employs 500.

No 22 bookends a rejuvenated Academy Street, which has a newly emerging ‘food quarter’ feel and several new traders

* Details: Savills 021-4271371

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