Smoke rising from the fire at Naas Shopping Centre. Photo: Tony Keane
The receiver appointed last week to the unopened Naas Shopping Centre was hesitant about making comment in relation to the fire which broke out in the centre last Thursday evening.
However, the Leinster Leader understands that Declan Taite of Duff & Phelps is “keenly aware” of the fire.
In an official statement, the receivers indicated they “are actively assisting Kildare Fire Services and An Garda Síochána with their ongoing investigation.”
The National Asset Management Agency recently appointed the finance house as the receiver of Naas Shopping Centre in advance of a long awaited sale of the premises.
The appointment and the fire are just the latest developments in the chequered history of the town centre development which was originally scheduled to open in December 2009.
Duff & Phelps has an office in Dublin and describes itself as a global financial services firm with expertise in “complex valuation and corporate finance”.
The news of the appointment will be welcomed by local residents and businesses who are anxious to see the centre open.
It is known that Kildare County Council was also in discussions up to recently with NAMA about ways to achieve an opening of the centre.
The centre was to have been anchored by Dunnes Stores but the supermarket giant pulled out, at least partly because of the onset of the economic crash.
At the time, the developer Marshalsea, a local company controlled by Liam O’Farrell and members of the McDermott family, were hopeful that Dunnes Stores would take up to 75,000 square feet on two levels. In an interview with the Leader in 2015, Owen McDermott of Marshalsea said the centre was built to Dunnes Stores’ specifications.
The 172,000 square feet centre was constructed to accommodate 45 retail units and 800 car park spaces and was built on the site of a former Naas Town car park.
It is understood that the receiver has recently been in contact with some local businesses which have an interest in the NSC.
The fire last Thursday, which caused lots of black smoke until it was extinguished in a matter of hours, has raised fears that the centre might be more difficult to sell. Local TD James Lawless, who has been working on the issue for sometime, says he does not believe this will be the case.
“Inside it’s just a concrete shell. There are no fixtures and fittings, so unless the fire caused damage to the structure of the building, which is highly unlikely, then it should have no effect,” he said.
Deputy Lawless welcomed the news of the appointment of the receiver.