Asda is committed to a new store in Londonderry but refused to be drawn on whether or not it will anchor the proposed ‘North West One’ project on the Crescent Link.
Asda planned moving into the existing Crescent Link Retail Park but there’s now strong indication it may prefer North West One up the road.
The project - now led by Ulster Bank and KPMG - will involve an investment of £45m. Five hundred and nine sustainable jobs are predicted if, as hoped, the project is completed in 2017.
Five hundred more jobs (man hours) will be supported over two years of construction from early to mid-2015, pending approval. The developers of the scheme - which will include a ten-screen cinema, a gymnasium, a drive-through and auxiliary health care facilities - told the Sentinel a major retailer, which is new to Londonderry, is being lined up as an anchor tenant.
The same firm will also operate a petrol station on site. The only petrol-selling supermarket not already established here is Asda, excluding Morrison’s, whose interest in Northern Ireland was acquired by the former in 2005.
Lisa Rooke, Asda’s Senior Property Communications Manager, told the Sentinel: “We are currently finalising our plans to come to the city. We remain committed to delivering a new Asda store as quickly as possible for the people of the Londonderry and look forward to creating new jobs and bringing greater consumer choice to the city.”
A complementary application for nearly 70 housing units will be submitted separately in line with the developers’ slogan of ‘live, work, play.’
Back in 2012 a predecessor application for the site was knocked back by Ex-Environment Minister Alex Attwood because its 8000 square metres floorspace made it too big “in terms of trade diversion.”
Yet, Mr Attwood indicated a re-submitted application by former developers GSB Guernsey Trading Ltd. and GML (NI) Limited may succeed if elements were tweaked. The scheme hit a major stumbling block when GSB Guernsey Trading Ltd. was placed in administration in early 2013.
However, a team appointed by Ulster Bank and KPMG is continuing to take the development forward and aims to submit a renewed application in early February.
The plans will be unveiled at Brewers Fayre in the Premier Inn (Thursday, 4-9pm).