Formal proposals for the redevelopment of the old Dunnes site in Armagh for both retail and residential have been submitted to planners this week.
As Armagh I revealed in November, it is hoped to create a ground floor retail unit, with apartments at the next two levels.
An application for the works – in the name of Drumarg Properties Armagh Ltd – has now gone to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for consideration.
The proposals would involve the refurbishment and restoration of the existing building, to include an extension to the rear at second and third floor levels and new shop front to provide “one ground floor retail unit, three two bed apartments and two one bed apartments”.
The property – long boarded up – is described in the application as a former supermarket with lounge bar to upper floors.
A key location in the commercial heart of Armagh – vacant since Dunnes Stores closed back in the 1990s – the intention now is to bring it back into productive use.
A spokesperson for the developer told Armagh I in November of the intentions regarding the redevelopment.
He said: “The plan is to restore the original Dunnes Stores building.
“The original shop downstairs will be restored back into its former glory of a retail unit.
“It will be designed in a way that it will incorporate two shop fronts, so it can be divided into two units or one unit, whatever suits the potential tenants; if anyone looks at the historical pictures they will see that it originally was two units.
“Originally, upstairs used to be years ago a licensed premises. That will be gone.
“But it is now going to be refurbished into five high end apartments.”
Our report on imminent plans for the Dunnes Stores site came just a week after Armagh I exclusively revealed proposals for 19 apartments at Gosford Place, overlooking the Mall.
The spokesperson added: “It’s great that there’s so many buildings that have been derelict in Armagh that have now designs and are in the process of trying to get planning granted, which will be great to see for the city.
“All told, we are planning an extensive renovation and refurbishment project in bringing back the former Dunnes Stores into use. It’s been derelict now for 20 years or more.”
The provision of the new shop – or two shop units depending on end users – will included storage, kitchenette and staff toilet provision.
Existing stairways will be retained and refurbished. And there will also be a new stairway to roof level.
The apartments will be over three levels – two two-bedroom apartments at first floor, one two-bedroom and one single bedroom apartment at second floor and the fifth unit – a one-bedroom apartment – in the roofspace.
The proposals also include private terrace. There will be external access to the apartments via stairs located to the left of the retail accommodation, which will be very much in keeping and sensitive to the Armagh Conservation Area within which it lies.
Meanwhile, a separate planning application in relation to signage will be required when the intended tenant or tenants have been confirmed.
The redevelopment scheme will be publicly advertised this week with a decision expected within the next number of months.
If all goes to plan, this eyesore site will soon be helping to breathe new life back into Armagh with a new look – while also providing much-needed accommodation in the city centre itself.