Business

New owners of Derry retail park announce £5m investment plan

Artist's impression of the new Food Warehouse store at Crescent Link Retail Park in Derry.
Ryan McAleer

THE Crescent Link Retail Park in Derry is to undergo a £5 million redevelopment to expand Marks & Spencer’s foodhall on the site and develop a unit for Iceland’s new venture.

Iceland opened its first Food Warehouse outlet in Northern Ireland at Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey in February 2020.

Set up in 2014, the retail venture is based on the wholesale business model, but with no requirement for a membership.

The latest addition to the growing chain will result in the creation of 25 new jobs in Derry.

The proposed changes to the development would also see the resizing of the existing Homebase store and improvements to the car parking facilities.

M&S has continued to shift its focus to its better performing areas, namely food. It recently announced a £6m new foodhall will go ahead in Banbridge.

A spokesperson said the expansion of its Crescent Link outlet will result in a wider range of food products.

David Samuel Properties bought the retail park for a reported £30m in 2019 from the Banbridge-based Lotus Group.

It’s understood the Manchester-based firm acts on behalf of a number of UK and Israeli-based investors.

The company said the investment in Crescent Link will help sustain a total of 110 jobs on the site.

Matthew Beddow, who represents the owners, welcomed the commitment of M&S, Iceland and Homebase to the retail park.

“These are well-established and popular brands which will support a combined 110 jobs. This announcement comes at a challenging time for the retail sector as it comes to terms with the increase in online shopping and the recovery from the impact of the coronavirus.

“This investment demonstrates the confidence in Derry-Londonderry of these powerful brands as a place for investment at an important moment for its economic growth.”

The plans will be subject to a public consultation process before a full application is lodged.

“We have plans in place for a significant regeneration of the scheme,” said Mr Beddow, “Including the car park and public realm space, which will see a new exit created and an increase in parking spaces, to make this a handy destination for shoppers to choose.

“We are committed to Derry-Londonderry and to addressing parking and traffic in the retail park that we know have concerned residents for a number of years. We are in negotiations with a number of other retailers and look forward to making more positive announcements soon.”

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