Omniplex chiefs take first steps towards revamping vacant Longford Shopping Centre

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

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liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford town shopping centre

Omniplex officials have tabled their first planning application aimed at turning Longford’s vacant shopping centre into a a multi-million euro cinema, retail and leisure complex.

The new owners of Longford’s vacant shopping centre have made their first steps towards turning the facility into a multi-million euro cinema, retail and leisure complex.

In an application lodged with Longford County Council on Monday, Omniplex Cork Ltd plan on changing the use of part of the centre's first level from retail to cinema use.

In their submission, the company want to incorporate up to six screens covering a total floor space of almost 1650 sq metres along with a new internal stair escape and doors to the facility's northern elevation.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: Omniplex chiefs vow to open multi million euro cinema, retail and leisure complex in Longford within next 18 months

The firm are expected to learn the outcome of their application by early October when a final decision by local authority planners is expected to be made.

It's also been confirmed Omniplex chiefs plan on rebranding the building as The Riverside Shopping Centre.

Details of the plans come some six months after the company snapped up the 80,000 sq ft building from Nama.

In his first interview with the media since shaking hands on the deal, Omniplex director Mark Anderson said the company were hoping to re-open the centre over the next two years.

It will take a lot of investment on our side,” added Mr Anderson.

“The purchase price was only one aspect of it.

“There are a lot of other hurdles to overcome in order to make this a success and that’s going to take a lot of capital investment from the Omniplex Group but it’s a complex that deserves the best chance to succeed.”

Evidence of those aims through the looming submission of the first in a series of planning applications has been given a resounding thumbs up at local political level.

“Great news today for Longford town with the signaling of the first of a series of planning applications for the vacant shopping centre,” write Cllr Joe Flaherty on his own Facebook page last Friday.

“The developers, Omniplex Group, have also indicated that the new name for the development will be the Riverside Shopping Centre.

“The first planning application is for change of use for Level One and the development of a new six screen cinema.

“Credit to the developers and Mark Anderson for pressing ahead with their plans and I understand there is serious momentum developing behind this project.”

Cllr Flaherty said the development was especially timely given the recent publication of the Council's own Camlin Quarter regeneration plans, efforts he insisted would provide a “huge boost”
to making those endeavours a reality.