BUILDERS are expected on site within weeks following news this week that Tesco are going ahead with elaborate revamp of the old Dundalk Shopping Centre.
There will be a total of 200 jobs in situ in Dundalk once the project is completed by late 2014.
Tesco revealed plans two years ago for a new superstore which would replace the entire building, with an a carpark to be placed directly below the main store.
Currently Tesco is the anchor tenant in the centre, with just a handful of other stores left in the building.
Tesco told staff at its current store at Dundalk Shopping Centre that the redevelopment will get underway later this year.
The building is to be demolished around a still functioning outlet on site.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Community Liason for Tesco Ireland, Michael Sullivan, says that the new store is going to be one of the most stunning of its kind in the country.
“This store is going to a genuinely beautifully designed building,” says Michael. “We are also going to open up a large area of the canal on the Ramparts aswell. We envisage that this area is going to become a really nice place to come and shop.
“We also see this building as significantly adding to the Dundalk as a shopping location, and also as a way of adding footfall to the town centre.”
Crucially there will be retail units for the non-Tesco retailers that currently share the shopping centre with the supermarket giant.
“What will happen is that a the old building, which is there since the seventies, is going demolished piece, by piece, while the section of the shop as is will still function and will be functioning thoughout the build.”
The end building will be 57,000 sq feet in size and offer a state of the art shopping facility.
“It will be roughly the same size as the one in Drogheda.”
Michael also told the paper that it would have no effect on the Longwalk store.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat Willie Hamilton of the Mandate Trade Union who is responsible for Tesco employeers in the Dundalk said that they had sought and received assurances from the multinationals that there would be no negative impact on employees.
“We spoke to Tesco and they very quick to let us know that there would be no negative impact,” said Mr Hamilton. “As I understand it employees will placed in the store in Longwalk while work is being carried out, and there will no impact on their hours. They guaranteed all existing contracts.”
Mr Hamilton understands that the hardware side will be closed first and that element moved into main store as it stands currently.
“They had told me that the reconstruction will be done in sections and that a temporary store will be trading, though I’m not clear how that will transpire.
“In fairness to Tesco while they are not a charity they have been clear and forthcoming about this move, and they were quick to give assurances regarding staff. It’s definitely good news for our Union and for the people of Dundalk, who can expect to have an extra 100 jobs onto top of the already existing 100 jobs.
“Also Tesco would tend to employ people from the surrounding in a manner that larger multinationals do not.”