The status of Opera Lane as one of Cork’s premier retail trading locations is underscored with the announcement that clothing retailer, H&M, is to add a new floor to its premises there at a total rental premium just below €1m per annum.
Opera Lane, Cork’s newest street, was developed by O’Callaghan Properties and opened in 2009.
It is now fully let, according to Leigh Hegarty, of Savills, on foot of H&M’s new signing.
The retailer will take an extra, 1,098 sq metres of the lower ground-floor — a large space running under a number of units in the high-street development.
Access is via the former Newstalk radio station, at street level, but it’s likely that H&M will rearrange its present floor plate to join both spaces and create a large, 3,271 square-metre store, offering a broad range of H&M-branded goods.
“The original store will now increase significantly in size,” says Leigh Hegarty, “making H&M the largest anchor store on Opera Lane.
"We are delighted to see the company significantly extend its presence, which is a real vote of confidence for the fashion precinct, but also further strengthens Cork City’s retail offer.
“Opera Lane is now fully occupied, for the first time since its completion in 2009, with other recent additions to the street including Skechers, Starbucks, and Specsavers,” she says.
Average zone-A rents in the city are in the region of €2,000 per square metre, but Opera Lane attracts a premium — however, it’s expected H&M is paying below €1m per annum based on economies of scale, but a value of €2,300 psm for prime retail in the city is not uncommon.
Large floor spaces are rare in the city, where the exigencies of fire regulations and planning codes prevent headline brands taking up position. This puts a premium on flexible, modern retail units, where they are available.
And it also makes the new redevelopment of Nos 83-85 Patrick Street highly attractive to the major brands, says Leigh Hegarty, who has also just signed a new letting, at Nos 74-75 Patrick Street, the former Mothercare shop. Unoccupied for some time, it will, it’s understood, be taken by a home-store brand.
Cork city is booming, says Hegarty, with the new letting an indication of the influence of the Capitol cinema scheme, which is due to open in early 2017 and on which work is progressing at a good pace.
Work is also due to commence in the coming weeks, on the re-build of Nos 83-85 Patrick Street and the major extension planned for Penney’s Patrick Street, is also in train.
H&M says the new shop-floor extension allows it to offer three floors of shopping: “This year’s planned extension will increase the shop-floor space significantly, allowing the brand to offer the Irish customer even more quality fashion, at affordable prices, in a sustainable way.”
Founded in Sweden in 1947, H&M opened its first UK store in 1976, and now has 260 shops throughout the UK and Ireland.
H&M includes the brands COS, & Other Stories, Cheap Monday, Monki, and Weekday, as well as H&M Home. The group has 150,000 employees in 62 markets, with 4,000 stores and a strong online presence. In 2015, sales were SEK 210bn.
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