LIMERICK is set for a multi-million euro boost after Aldi unveiled plans to open a flagship store in the heart of the city centre.
A total of 100 construction jobs and 25 permanent roles will be created with the German retailer set to open beside the Eir exchange in Roches Street, should the proposal clear planning hurdles.
The massive four-storey development will be built at the former Eir parking exchange, and will provide 1,250 square metres of retail space and 85 new car parking spaces.
It comes as part of a €160m investment programme the retailer is embarking on.
The news comes in the same week that demolition began of the former ESB building on Bishops Quay with a seven-storey skyscraper to be built in its place and on the site which also takes in property at Lower Cecil Street and Henry Street.
This development will provide office space for 600 people, and gives high hopes that Limerick can weather the post-coronavirus downturn.
Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan said: “It's uplifting to see the infrastructural projects progress and that their progress hasn't been dramatically hampered by the onset of the pandemic.”
Meanwhile, Fine Gael councillor Dan McSweeney has also welcomed the proposals for Aldi.
He said: “It’s important to note what Leo Varadkar said in Dail Eireann last week. That the way to get out of a downturn is by providing employment. All in all, it’s a good day for Limerick that we have the prospect of Aldi for a new store, as well as the Opera site coming in over the coming months.”
The councillor also said Aldi’s neighbouring shops will benefit from the parking, with shoppers there venturing elsewhere in the centre.
The Aldi application – which is due to be lodged with council in the next fortnight – is likely to prove controversial, though, with smaller retailers likely to object.
“I need my business to remain open, so my family don’t starve,” said one retailer this Tuesday, pointing out that for every job Aldi creates, roles are lost in smaller firms.
Cllr Daniel Butler, Fine Gael, urged caution that council doesn’t “jump” too quickly on the site, arguing a masterplan is needed for the area.
Adam Ward, the managing director of Aldi in this region said: “Every new Aldi store that opens brings greater choice, quality and value to shoppers.”
Aldi has branches at Childers Road, Dublin Road and in Newcastle West.
The retailer is also planning its first Shannon shop in 2023, with a planning application for a unit in the Airport Road submitted to Clare County Council.
This store would measure 1,315 square metres.