A Newtownabbey firm hopes to hit the jackpot with its plans for an adult gaming centre in the old Dunnes Stores unit in the Richmond Centre.
Oasis Retail Services Ltd. - founded by Gerald Steinberg in 1968 - says the new centre, which will house 60 to 70 gaming machines, will help address a 25 per cent vacancy rate on Shipquay Street.
In a statement supporting the Oasis application, Braniff Associates, state: “The site has been vacant now for the past 12 years, Indeed, eight out of the 11 properties on this side of Shipquay Street are vacant.”
“The shutters are nearly always down, which presents a dead frontage and contributes nothing to the vibrancy of Shipquay Street and the Derry Central Area as a whole.”
The developers argue the steep gradient of Shipquay Street minimises the unit’s shop frontage and this makes it unattractive to High Street retailers.
Of the 60 to 70 gaming machines proposed: “Many of these will be installed on a raised rotunda basis.
“Other elements of the fit-out include a lounge area, coffee making facilities, ancillary office space and WC provision.”
Oasis operates five outlets in Belfast and has one each in Lisburn, Newcastle, Aldergrove, Larne, Bangor, Coleraine and Ballymena.
According to Braniff Associates: “Oasis is at the forefront of providing stylish premises for adults who enjoy pay-to-play gaming. Careful attention is given to shopfront design in order to ensure its integration into the retail landscape. Interiors are tastefully designed and customers are provided with complimentary tea, coffee and sandwiches during their visit.”
In further literature submitted with a fresh planning application, the developers state: “Aware that the image of Gaming Centres in Northern Ireland has been damaged in the past by poor management, poor presentation and lack of standards, Oasis has confronted these issues and created an alternative establishing new expectations. Seizing the initiative, we provide a new environment for adults who enjoy the gaming experience - a space which is stylish mature and hospitable.”