Dundalk commercial vacancy rate hits 18%


Dundalk commercial vacancy rate hits 18%
Ian Cameron ian.cameron@dundalkdemocrat.ie @IanAlexCameron

The commerical vacancy rate in Dundalk is at 18.7 per cent - over 5 per cent more than the national average.

Ardee (15.5 per cent), Drogheda (17.9 per cent) and Dundalk (18.7 per cent) were the three towns in County Louth included in the report which was undertaken by GeoDirectory.

The rate in Louth for the second quarter of 2016 now stands at 13.8 per cent, compared to the national average of 13.1 per cent.

Despite what might seem like a high rate of vancancy, BIDs Manager Martin McElligot says the future is bright, and expects significant uptake in Dundalk town centre over the next 18 months.

“Dundallk has had its fair share of vacant properties. Since I took up my post here in February, part of my job has to been to get to know landlords, investors and decision makers.

“We are particularly targetting at the moment Clanbrassil Street. At the moment there is a general interest in the town.

“There was a problem in that there were landlords sitting on property from a portfolio valuation point of view and they were not in a position to let.

“They were sitting on it to a point where it was becoming useless and maybe it was backfiring to a degree.

“A lot of this property is starting to turnover in the background. So over the next 12 to 18 months, there will be a focus on bringing properties back to a rental and an overhead living standard.

“BIDs has no real power in these decisions but what we try to do is influence the decisions made.

“We are also trying to introduce new people to the market who are in a position to buy a property and bring it back to a lettable retail standard.”

Mr Elligot said there's not many projects he can talk about directly but assures the Democrat that BIDs is “very positive” about some of the deals that are being done.

“There's a retail rental value on many properties of between €10,000 and €18,000, whereas previously they might have been looking for €20,000 to €40,000 before.

“Landlords are starting to be more realistic about rental values. This is part of the influence we are trying to have.”

BIDs have also been engaging with businesses on the shop front grant scheme.

“You can see a lot of premises now being done up and we had an influence on that.

“We worked towards a model where retailers could enter at a value that was affordable to them, and Louth County Council were very supportive of that and very attentive of people trying to enter the scene.

“Investors are now actively looking at main street, and especially with the €4.4million spend which will only improve and enhance the value of property on Clanbrassil Street.

“To me this is very much the long game,” concluded Mr McElligot.