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Manor West Retail Park
Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland
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MARKING its tenth year in business, Kerry’s Manor West Retail Park has a nice present for itself — it’s heading up to full occupancy.

An imminent deal with a UK-based electrical retailer for 10,000 sq ft will have all units taken in the 310,000 sq ft Tralee scheme - which was done by local developers the Boyle family.

Developed in two phases, and with a 78-bed hotel added on in 2005, Manor West has built steadily over its decade in existence, making ground on foot of judicious selection of tenants:its top five is exceptionally strong, with Tesco, Debenhams, TK Maxx, Home Store and More and Next all significant players.

Several recent deals have seen traders from the town take a presence in Manor West: they include Horan’s Healthcare, which has taken 800 sq ft of space vacated by Roxy Records, and Paraffin, a men’s fashion store run by the entrepreneurial designer/ retailer Thomas Boyle (no relation to the centre’s owners), who has taken a 700 sq ft unit vacated by Esprit.

After several other ‘musical chairs’ moves and small extensions, there’s only one 10,000 sq ft unit left, likely to be let in the coming weeks, say centre manager Derek Rusk and Jason Miller of Colliers International letting agent in Dublin.

Manor West has proven its ability to hold the retails spend in Kerry, and has stopped ‘leakage’ to neighbouring counties Cork and Limerick, says Rusk. The centre wasn’t able to get Marks and Spencers into Manor West and Tralee, after a long planning battle which met fierce oppositionfrom the town’s traders. Instead, Marks and Spencers went to Killarney, and has been trading extremely well there since.

Currently, as it heads to full occupancy, Manor West employs around 800. The centre’s contribution to local rates is heading to the €1m mark. Footfall averages 90,000 a week - and its large Smyths toy store probably is doing 90,000 as well these pre-Christmas weeks.

Miller says Manor West is one of the largest, and top-performing retail centres outside of Dublin and consistently scores in REI retailer surveys with some of the lowest service charges in the country: service charges there are typically €3 per square foot, compared to higher averages of €10 to €12 psf elsewhere. The low charges are put down to direct control by manager Rusk and a small maintenance team.

According to Rusk “despite the challenges for the retail industry over the past number of years, we continues to attract major national
and international brands and haven’t experienced the same level of negative impact that most centres around the country, particularly in rural areas, have experienced. “This is due to a number of factors, such as the quality and variety of tenants, the fact the region isn’t over-shopped, as well as the ownership by a local family, the Boyles, rather than a large restrictive conglomerate, answerable to many shareholders.”

Retail specialist and letting agent Miller says that the recent, smaller unit lettings have seen interest shown from Munster traders and local businesses, which was very encouraging, as well as having the comfort factor of major draws like the big five, and, in addition, Mothercare, Halfords, Woodies. Rents are not disclosed, but are likely to be in the €50-plus psf range for the centre, and €16 to 20 psf in the retail park.

Details: Colliers International 01-6333700.

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