Business blossoms as bank becomes bistro

The return to function of a number of Mullingar landmarks continues apace with the news this week that the former Bank of Ireland opposite the Market Square is to re-open as a shop and bistro.

The project is being pushed by a five-month-old company called Centre Earth Ltd, which is the corporate vehicle for Mark and Mary Teresa Gavin from Gaddaghanstown, Dalystown.

Mark Gavin is no stranger to the hospitality sector, as he is a former managing director of the very succcessful bakery franchise Cuisine de France.

Their plans allow for 520 sqm of retail space on the ground floor, with a café/bistro on the first floor which is expected to incorporate a lot of the original 1880 Sandham Symes architecture which had been hidden behind the three subsequent extensions to the property.

The top floor is to be returned to its original use as an apartment.

The premises has been empty for a little over two years since Bank of Ireland consolidated their propery portfolio on Mullingar to the single premises on Oliver Plunkett Street in March 2011.

Prior to the Gavins snapping up this historic property earlier this year, fears were becoming more vocal about the future of this landmark, and it even warranted a mention at a town council meeting.

A subsequent application is still with the county council to amend the first floor restrooms, add a lift at the rear of the premises, to revise the rear entrance, and make a few revisions to the layout of the 600 sqm carpark.

Local architects O’Halloran Rooney are looking after the refurbishment, and plan to renovate the former bank’s frontage in accordance with its protected status within the County Development Plan.

However, at going to press, neither the owners nor the architects were able to confirm employee numbers, nor a start date at this stage.


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