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Fast fashion retailer Penneys is pressing ahead with ambitious plans for its flagship St Patrick’s Street store, introducing a planning app today to increase retail space by nearly 50%.
The retail giant does not plan to close the store during the expansion, which will add 17,000 square feet of retail space to the current 37,000 square feet.
The O’Flynn Group – which has supported the Penneys throughout the planning and development process, including helping to assemble what is now one of the city’s largest property ownership groups, with €30 million spent north – has confirmed the planning application will be submitted today.
Michael Keeler, O’Flynn Group’s chief operating officer, said the expansion would « improve customers’ retail experience » and lead to an additional entry point to the store on Cook St.
While some of the existing units that are part of the block will remain as individual stores, including units on Oliver Plunkett St and Cook St, two units off St Patrick’s Street will be combined and form part of the extended ground floor. They include the Flying Tiger buildings and the unit that once housed Vera Moda and Jack & Jones.
A Penneys spokesperson said: « We are excited to bring bigger and better Penneys to the heart of downtown Cork and create a great new shopping experience for our customers. »
It’s positive news for St Patrick’s Street, which is seeing some signs of recovery after a tough year of lockdown, most notably retail giant Debenhams, which has closed both St Patrick’s Street and Mahon Point stores.
However, there are signs of a resurgence, with Sports Direct set to move into the Eason Building, with Eason relocating, and with the Savoy Center and Queens Old Castle also redeveloped (see planning notes and separate Fraser group story on this page).
The proposed Penneys development will retain the facade of St Patrick’s Street as it is protected. It is listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as a « remarkable and positive addition to the streets. »
The Penneys block extends from Robert St to Cook St and from St Patrick’s Street to Oliver Plunkett St, with the buildings in between.
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