Tesco Ireland is planning a major facelift of its Mullingar premises which should see a 15 per cent increase in retail space, and its car park expanded to 500 spaces at the Ashe Road premises.
Described by a Tesco spokesman as “the grand old lady of our portfolio”, a shopping centre has existed on this site since 1978 - initially as 3 Guys, and then Gubay’s, before Tesco took over - and has only had a number of minor cosmetic, or internal adjustments to its layout to date.
It has not yet been decided whether to close down sections of the store for the nine to 12 month projected build, or to install prefab modules in the car park, but “there will be some form of trading while the building is going on”, said Tesco spokesman Michael Sullivan.
“We’re looking at both options at the moment, but haven’t decided yet. Obviously this will be decided in consultation with Westmeath County Council,” he added.
He wanted to assure the six sub-leasing traders on the site that “satellite business will continue”, and that “units will be built for them first”.
He went on to explain that, pending permission, Tesco would look at building an “eco-friendly” store, similar to the popular, precedent builds in Kildare, Rush, and Swinford, with architecture that will include wooden columns, rafters, and roof.
“You know that warehousey feeling you get when you walk into one of these big supermarkets? Well, this will totally take that away. It’s so soft. A much more homely affair,” he said.
He went on to say that the projected build will contain a raft of eco-initiatives to include rainwater harvesting, and a range of measures in the electrical systems which are projected to reduce this particular bill by up to 35 per cent.
There will also be double-glazed and gel-filled skylights which, when used with dimmable roof lights, “will allow for a constancy of light”.
Tesco also plan to install brushless motors to reduce noise and electricity usage in its refrigeration section, as well as cold air recycling in its chiller aisle to help cool its server room.
In the application submitted by Tesco’s property company to Westmeath County Council, the retailer hopes to demolish the entire 6,384 sq m premises, and replace it with a slightly taller model, with a mezzanine floor for staff over the main floor, with a total area of 7,341 sqm.
The project will include the already granted permission to demolish the store’s six-year-old petrol station to expand its car parking spaces to 498.
Along with the expanded foodstore and off-licence, Tesco plans to build six retail units, and a café on the site. There will be a new entrance from Ashe Road, and a decision is due by May 16.