'Oriental' interest in Longford town's Northern Quarter

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford town shopping centre

Longford town's vacant shopping centre

A deal to sell off Longford town's vacant shopping centre and former Connolly Barracks site could be close to completion.

Both properties, which make up the town's so-called 'Northern Quarter' and centrepiece of Longford town's planned regeneration drive, have been on the market since the beginning of September.

Last week, Longford auctioneer Fintan McGill took to local radio to confirm a foreign consortium had expressed an interest in both lots for a reported €1.7m.

Those remarks were ones which generated plenty of intrigue among councillors at a recent meeting of Longford Municipal District.

Head of Finance John McKeon attempted to address questions over the latest developments, saying interest had been forthcoming from prospective suitors both at home and overseas.

“There have been a number of interested parties that have gone and had a look at it from Ireland and abroad,” he said.

“Some (parties) have come back a second time and some are scheduled to come back a third time.”
Mr McKeon stopped short of going into the finer points of those discussions in view of their “commercially sensitive” nature.

What he did acknowledge was interest had been lodged in the shopping centre and barracks both separately and as a complete lot.

Listening on, Fianna Fáil's Seamus Butler said he was somewhat startled at the how expansive Mr McGill had been when fielding questions over the interest shown in both properties.

“He (Mr McGill) was quite forthcoming and surprisingly so,” said Cllr Butler.

“I don't know if that is what should have happened at this stage but I do know there has been substantial interest.”

The Longford businessman claimed it was his understanding a large bulk of that attention had come from “Oriental” and East Asian quarters.

“I understand a significant bid has been made for both lots together,” he added.

Details over the latest developments concerning the town's Northern Quarter follow confirmation in July that the Council and NAMA had appointed joint selling agents to market the area.

Any prospective deal however on the sale of one or both properties remains a 'reserved function' of elected members, meaning the agreement will have to be ratified by councillors before it can be formally approved.

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