Vacant Carryduff shopping centre set for £8m revamp as The Village
One of Northern Ireland's oldest shopping centres is to be renamed and revamped as part of an £8m plan.
Carryduff Shopping Centre in Co Down has been vacant for around three years after a period of steady decline following the closure of former anchor tenant SuperValu.
Now, owner Causeway Asset Management has unveiled plans to revamp the site and rename it The Village.
The company said it is now talking to new retailers about taking space in the centre at Church Road.
And it's understood German discount grocer Lidl could be a viable anchor tenant after the retailer was linked to opening up in the town last year. However, Causeway said there was no further detail on which retailers it was in conversation with.
But a spokesman for Lidl said: "As Northern Ireland's fastest-growing supermarket, with ambitious plans to expand our footprint across the region, we routinely assess all areas for potential growth. Carryduff has been identified as an area of interest to us and we will be continuing to monitor and assess its investment potential."
Causeway Asset Management's plans include the renovation of the former SuperValu site, three prime retail units and a restaurant, the retention of two existing units and the construction of 21 apartments, car parking and extensive landscaping. Planning permission was granted for the project in November 2018.
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Brian Kearney, director of Causeway Asset Management, said: "For a long time now residents of Carryduff have wanted to see this site rejuvenated into a contemporary space that will attract investment and footfall, while meeting the needs of the local community.
"The scheme at The Village will combine modern retail units fit for 21st century occupiers alongside contemporary housing to restore the site into a vibrant economic hub."
Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said shopping centres now had to work much harder and offer more than just shops.
"For these areas to be successful it's not just about the shops, but making it an experience that the consumer will enjoy and it's about making them a destination.
"It's not just about getting people to spend their money, but also their time."
He said the revamped centre would hope to be able to draw shoppers from the outskirts of Belfast but also those who were commuting through Carryduff on their way to Belfast from south Down.