BUILD it and they will come is the old maxim, but if Marks & Spencer are to move to Limerick they want free rent to boot.
The three-decade long delay to persuade Marks & Spencer to open in Limerick city is due to the stringent terms and conditions set out by the UK retailer - potentially up to five years free rent and having to pay only a nominal amount thereafter, the Limerick Leader has learned.
As City Hall and Belfast developer Suneil Sharma attempt to woo the British store to open in their respective developments in Limerick, local businessmen have complained that their demands are too costly to be met by developers struggling to open shopping centres in the current climate.
Mayor of Limerick Jim Long said he understands the sought-after chain has “a policy of going into sites for no rent or as little rent as possible.”
“They do not believe in paying rent; everything is built to accommodate Marks & Sparks, but everything comes at a price.
“It would be remiss of us not to consider M&S and I wouldn’t hesitate to negotiate with them. They should be welcomed with open arms,” the Mayor said, specifically referring to their newly acquired Opera Centre site in the city.
He said the conditions set out by the retail empire wouldn’t be a deterrent to him, but that would not be part of his “contractual remit” as mayor.
“The information we have is that they are keen to come to the city centre, despite what Mr Sharma [of the Parkway Valley development] is saying, and we shouldn’t waste that opportunity” added the mayor.
*See the Limerick Leader weekend edition for a full version of this story