New Northern Ireland McDonald's drive-thru kicks off £30m expansion of retail park
Antrim retail park The Junction has begun work on its £30m revamp as the construction of a new McDonald's restaurant and drive-thru begins.
The shopping destination, which recently changed its name from Junction One, got the green light for its multi-million pound expansion late last year.
And McDonald's is one of a proposed 20 new shops, cafes, restaurants and drive-thrus earmarked for the site.
When approval for the expansion was granted by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, The Lotus Group, which owns the retail park, said up to 500 jobs would be created.
The redevelopment and landscaping will make The Junction Northern Ireland's largest shopping and leisure destination.
When completed, the McDonald's drive-thru will occupy around 4,700sq ft.
It is expected to open later this year.
It will also be the first operator in the new food zone outside the Omniplex.
The Lotus Group, which bought the site in 2016, said that more food and leisure operator-related announcements were expected in the coming months.
Alastair Coulson of The Lotus Group, said: "We are delighted to begin phase one of our redevelopment with the construction of a McDonald's restaurant and drive-thru. McDonald's is a popular place to fuel up for a shopping trip, so this is the perfect place to begin the first phase of our major regeneration project and it is exciting to see our vision for The Junction coming to life."
McDonald's said: "Construction for a new McDonald's restaurant at The Junction in Antrim has begun, with completion due in late 2018. A new restaurant will bring significant investment to the local area and we look forward to being part of the local community."
The Junction is one of three retail parks here owned by Lotus. Its site in Banbridge, The Boulevard, is also undergoing significant investment and will welcome three retailers this summer: Adidas, Kurt Geiger and Asics.
Chris Nelmes, The Boulevard's centre manager, said: "We are continuing to make strides in our commitment to providing the premier outlet shopping experience in Northern Ireland through the introduction of three new global brands. We want to make sure that we can attract both new and current customers back to the centre time and again as we continue to attract new and exciting retailers in the lifestyle, fashion and food and beverage categories."
The three new outlets represent a £900,000 investment in the centre. Other key brands introduced there over the past year include Jack and Jones, Ulster Weavers and The Beauty Outlet.