The property developer who bought a shopping center in Antrim last year has announced its first major new tenant.
eneagles Ltd, whose directors include pharmacy boss Colin Johnston, said Lynas Food Outlet will open in Antrim’s Castle Mall in late autumn.
Work is due to begin to restructure part of the mall so the 8,500 square foot store can open.
Mascott Construction must carry out the construction work for the new point of sale, accessible from Central Car Park, creating 30 jobs in the building.
The Lynas family, owners of Lynas Foodservice, said they have ambitious expansion plans to reach 18 stores by 2024.
The new outpost will stock Lynas’ “frozen-for-freshness range,” which includes bulk-pack fresh chicken fillets, bulk-value multipack offerings, and Lynas’ own butchery brand, Causeway Prime.
Gary Mills, COO of Lynas Foodservice, said: “We are delighted to see work beginning at Castle Mall for our latest Lynas Food Outlet.
“Antrim is going through huge regeneration and, with more investment in the town center and additional family homes being built, we see the potential in this catchment area and are delighted not only to bring our product range to the town , but also to create other jobs in construction and retail activities.
Pamela Minford, manager of Castle Mall, said she was delighted to see another retailer invest in the scheme.
“Twenty-two-two has been a positive year in shaping the retail business and we have been on a growth trajectory since handing over to new owners in 2021.
“Lynas Food will completely redesign Castle Mall by opening it up to Central Car Park and inviting customers to continue their shopping experience throughout the center.
“We have a strong local community in Antrim who want to see Castle Mall succeed and this is just the start of our regeneration strategy, with further exciting development plans to come soon.”
The investment in Castle Mall also resulted in the expansion and relocation of the Holland & Barrett health products store, as well as Specsavers and Card Factory. A new Vietnamese-style cafe has also opened, while the Furbies pet store is due to open next month.
Billy Webb, the Alliance Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, said: “As a well-known brand in Northern Ireland, Lynas will no doubt be a great attraction for shoppers and will be key to the further development of this part of Antrim.
“The council working with the private sector has developed some really ambitious plans for Antrim and look forward to implementing them over the next few years.”
Castle Mall was acquired by British property company Edinburgh House in 2010.
Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council last year granted planning permission for the redevelopment of Castle Mall.
It’s one of many shopping destinations that have been bought up by NI-based developers in recent years. The Fairhill Shopping Center in Ballymena was bought last year for an undisclosed sum by Magell, a company owned by the Walker family.
The retail site entered the market for offers from £10million in April, six years after being bought out by an investor for £46.5million.
Writing in the Belfast Top 100 Companies magazine today, Dr Claire Shaw of commercial property consultancy INPRIO said commercial assets remained attractive to domestic buyers and NI-based investors.
The research analyst writes, “The challenges the retail industry has faced over the past two decades are well documented.
“Nevertheless, retail investment is the mainstay of Northern Ireland’s commercial property market and, with the exception of last year, retail consistently accounts for the largest proportion of the market. annual market share (about 56% over the last five years).”