Friday, March 10, 2023

The vacant anchor unit at Carlow Shopping Centre Photo:

MANAGEMENT at Carlow Shopping Centre has taken over the running of an important café within the complex “to keep the lights on”.

A coffee and sandwich service is open following closure of the Wildflower Café, which had operated for the past two years.

Shopping centre owner Gwynne Thomas said it was important that the café stays open, with a new operator already being lined up.

“We are basically doing cups of coffee, sandwiches and buns. We are not really running a café, just trying to keep the lights on,” he told ***The Nationalist***.

The shopping centre continues to face challenges, with the anchor unit vacant since Penneys returned to Kennedy Avenue, along with last year’s closure of another big draw at the centre, Sam McCauley’s pharmacy. In a positive step, Mr Thomas said the shopping centre was taking control of the anchor unit from Musgraves, which had a long-term lease on the premises.

“We are looking for an anchor. We don’t have possession of the unit yet; we are taking it over from Musgraves next month,” he said.

Mr Thomas was dismissive of Musgraves’ efforts to find a company to fill the shoes of Penneys at the anchor unit. Asked whether he would be more successful than Musgraves in finding a tenant, he said: “I’ll have to be more successful. I have an interest in getting this done. They had none.”

Mr Thomas also said the development would assist in creating a proposed pedestrian link between Fairgreen and Potato Market.

It had been reported previously that negotiations between Musgraves and the council ended without agreement, as the proposal impacted a service yard at the shopping centre.

The Nationalist contacted Musgraves for comment but the company declined to respond to Mr Thomas’s remarks.

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