Garden centre chain Dobbies to create 150 jobs in new Antrim superstore
UK garden centre chain Dobbies has announced plans to create 150 jobs in a new superstore at The Junction retail park in Antrim.
The 110,000 sq ft outlet, expected to be ready by Spring 2023, will become one of the largest in the retailer's entire portfolio of 73 stores.
It marks a significant expansion of Dobbies' presence in Northern Ireland, which includes just a single garden centre at Lisburn.
It's understood the plans for the new Antrim store follow the success of the Lisburn centre, which has become one of the retailer's best performing sites.
The Junction's Banbridge-based owner Lotus Property said £10 million will be invested in the project, which will be met by both the retailer and the property group.
The development will be subject to planning approval, with a public consultation process due to take place to gauge local feedback.
But as it stands, Dobbies have announced that the store will include a foodhall and restaurant.
Alongside the standard plants and gardening products, the plans also provide for a pet department; home and cookshop; books, toys and gifts; as well as seasonal items.
The 150 new full and part-time roles will make Dobbies one of The Junction's biggest employers.
Dobbies' chief executive, Graeme Jenkins, said: “Our Lisburn store is one of our most popular and we want to build on this success with a complementary store in Antrim.
“The Junction Retail and Leisure Park is a fantastic location and this development reinforces our ongoing ambition for growth.
The Junction was acquired by Lotus Property in 2016 in a deal which also saw the Co Down developer take on The Boulevard shopping centre in Banbridge.
Managing director, Alastair Coulson, said: “This is a real boost not just for The Junction, but for Antrim and Northern Ireland as well, bringing significant investment and jobs to the area.
“The last year has proven to be a very difficult trading environment for many retailers but this decision by a growing company likes Dobbies is a massive vote of confidence in The Junction as a retail destination.
“Dobbies proposal to open one of their largest stores anywhere in the UK complements brilliantly our existing portfolio at the retail park and our long-term vision to transform The Junction into one of the largest retail and leisure destinations in Northern Ireland,” he added.
“We look forward to working with the company in the coming months to deliver this exciting project.”