The derelict Naas Shopping Centre
There can be little doubt now that the Naas Shopping Centre will eventually open.
The appointment of a receiver by the National Asset Management Agency is a step towards finding a buyer for the development, built by locally based company Marshalsea.
Nobody knows when it will happen but the opening of the centre in some form - it could differ in terms of layout from what Marshalsea envisaged - has moved a step closer.
This is despite the blaze at the building just over a week ago. Although there was heavy smoke over Naas as building materials at the site caught fire, no structural damage was done to the centre.
Some local politicians have been making claims about about meeting potential buyers of the site.
And while politicians have an understandable appetite to be associated with good news of any kind, who moves into the centre and when will likely have little to do with any TD or councillor, however well intended their motivations are.
Just about everybody associated with the centre wants to see it open and it can work.
The Population of Naas is expected to grow substantially in the coming years, providing customers for the centre.
Apart from this fact if the centre is attractive enough as a solid retail proposition it will bring people into the town anyway.
And if the 700 odd parking spaces are provided this will solve at least some the issues around parking in the town - as well as making it easier to access the centre.
Marshalsea is a successful development company which has also been involved in commercial property development in Dublin as well as County Kildare. It’s plan for Naas may be criticised now because it didn’t open. But it was ambitious and it was broadly welcomed at the time. It addressed the need for a major shopping centre in what was then one of the county’s most important shopping destinations. It was a great idea.
It was also a great pity for everybody that it didn’t open then. It would have but for emerging circumstances which nobody could have predicted or foreseen - the onset of the economic collapse, which also sent local residential property values into a tailspin.
The second problem arose when Dunnes Stores, which committed to taking space on both floors, withdrew. Dunnes Stores would have fronted on to the Corban’s Lane entrance to the building.
The receiver Duff & Phelps, an organisation with considerable experience in this field, has begun working towards finding a buyer and has already made contact with some businesses in Naas.
These are businesses near the centre and which gave up land to the centre either for space in the centre or for payment.
The centre has to be fitted out because individual units don’t exist and this could cost in the region of €10m. But this is a guesstimate.
It is not clear either whether the substantial road works which were due to take place will now go ahead.
These were requirements of the original planning permission, which is now twelve years told.
They include the widening of Corban’s Lane and work on Friary Road and its junction with Blessington Road.
The original plan was to level the railway bridge on Friary Road to facilitate ease of movement from the Blessington Road direction.
It was also intended to create a new road junction where South Main Street, Fairgreen Street and Corban’s Lane so that traffic coming from the Newbridge Road direction could pass through South Main Street and on to Corban’s Lane.
We are still some way from an opening, however.