Belfast Telegraph

Quay's extension plans have yet to be financed

By Donal O'Donavan

The boss of a property company which owns Newry's The Quay's Shopping Centre has said he has yet to arrange financing for a £35m expansion.

Dr Gerard O'Hare, head of Parker Green International, said he was "confident" money would be available for the extension, which was given the green light by planners last week.

The new development was "demand led" with half of the planned new space already reserved, mostly by UK retail multiples. Building work is due to start in late 2012, with completion expected by late 2013.

He said footfall at the Quays was down by around 10% last year but retailers were betting on a recovery in the Northern Ireland economy.

Dr O'Hare is a visiting professor at Queen's University, as well as a property magnate. He features as Northern Ireland's fourth-richest man in the Sunday Times Rich List, with wealth of around £220m.

The Quays is well-known on both sides of the border and boomed in recent years when the euro surged against sterling. Its location helped make it one of the busiest shopping centres on the island, as shoppers from the Republic flocked north for bargains.

The centre was valued at £71m in 2009, according to Parker Green's accounts, and was developed with loans from Anglo Irish Bank, which has a mortgage on the development.

The development is expected to create around 200 construction jobs and support around 300 retail and other jobs, according to the company.