EIGHTEEN YEARS after it first opened, The Square shopping centre in Tallaght, Co Dublin, is to undergo its first major refurbishment.
Around €21 million is to be spent on a range of works which will include the modernisation of the main entrances and an upgrading of the mall areas and the central atrium.
Visitors are likely to be impressed by the new contemporary glass entrances as well as the cleaner lines in the malls where floors and ceilings are to be replaced.
Large LCD display televisions are to be installed in the central atrium.
The refurbishment is being handled by architects Poval Worthington and will be carried out on a phased basis mainly at night to ensure that it does not disrupt business.
All of the work is due to be completed by next August.
While The Square remains in multiple ownership, the majority shareholders include solicitor Noel Smyth's Alburn, Alanis and AIBIM.
Mr Smyth predicted that the refurbishment would be a significant turning point for The Square, reflecting the commitment of the owners to maintain it as one of Dublin's primary shopping destinations. Mr Smyth said The Square was not designed to be like Dundrum Town Centre and there was no desire to replicate that shopping model.
"In the fullness of time The Square will represent the quality and finish of the Dundrum shopping experience but at a more economic level for those who have remained loyal to us over the past 18 years," he said.
To coincide with the refurbishment, leading retailer River Island is initially to open a womenswear store of 436sq m (4,693sq ft) with an option to take further space. The retailer will shortly commence fitting out a new unit close to New Look and Boots.
Karl Stewart of letting agent DTZ Sherry FitzGerald said the River Island move would greatly enhance the overall mix and choice to shoppers.
River Island has been trading from a small concession unit in Roches Stores.
Elsewhere in the centre, Lifestyle Sports will also be increasing its presence by moving to a shop of 446sq m (5,016sq ft).
Mr Smyth is still planning to proceed with a major extension of the The Square which has been held up for several years by ownership and legal problems. The issue is due to go before the High Court early in the new year.
The Irish Times