By Fiona Frawley
Big news for the parish.
Naas locals will know all too well the saga of Naas Shopping Centre – work started on the site over 15 years ago but was abandoned soon after, falling into a state of dereliction until construction resumed under new management nearly three years ago.
The site was legally signed over by NAMA to Gerald Roche and his family’s Roche Group in November 2020, and this week the businessman has provided an update regarding when shoppers can expect to see the centre open. Mr Roche has also been given the go ahead to build a new entrance to the shopping centre on Naas Main Street.
Speaking to the Kildare Nationalist, Mr Roche said:
“We want to get it started, get it up and going. We’re hoping to get the ball rolling straight away, but we’re still answering the council’s questions that came with the permission.
“Hopefully get it started next month, and hopefully have it all open by this Christmas coming.
“We have to go back to all our old tenants who got tired waiting and went elsewhere,” Mr Roche added.
“Most are still interested, but we had one tenant who was going to take 44,000 sq ft but now they’ve gone to Newbridge, and that should’ve been in Naas.
“I am relieved, I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but it is a start,” he said.
14 months ago, Kildare County Council refused the Roche Group permission to demolish a single storey Bank of Ireland shop front and replace it with a broader entrance from Naas Main Street to the shopping centre.
The Group then reworked their plan for the proposed entrance, designing a colonnaded entrance using the old facade rather than demolishing it altogether. The Council approved this plan based on a number of conditions, one being that ATMs would be installed to replace the old ones being taken out of the bank.
Naas Shopping Centre is expected to create between 700 and 850 new jobs for the town.