Council’s €500k deal for town centre site

AMBITIOUS €19m plaza proposal progressing

The council has struck a deal for a landmark property that brings ambitious rejuvenation plans for Cavan town centre a step closer.

The site formerly know as ‘Donohoes Foodfare’ on Bridge Street with significant space to the rear, has been snapped-up by the local authority for a sum exceeding €500,000.

The sale was agreed towards the end of last year, with all legalities understood to have been finalised early in 2021.

It’s the second time the local authority has dipped its toe into the real estate market specifically in that area of Cavan town, after acquiring the former ‘McIntyre’s’ premises on Abbey Street in 2018, a unit located immediately behind Cavan Townhall.

Both McIntyre’s and the rear of Donohoe’s stand adjacent to the historic Abbey grounds which the council sees as a centrepiece of a widely accessible multi-million pedestrianised plaza.

Talks are “ongoing” with other local landowners such as An Post and Allied Irish Bank.

“[Donohoe’s] with the McIntyre’s site gives us a huge landbank to work from already, and we’ve been engaging with all property owners to develop the concept, and to enhance the potential of that whole area,” explains Director of Services, Brendan Jennings.

“It’s about finding ways to increase footfall into our town centres, not just in Cavan Town itself, but similarly in towns across the county,” he said, pointing to a number of blueprints unveiled of late in Ballyjamesduff, Virginia, and Kingscourt.

Twelve months ago the council facilitated a meeting to appraise the public, and receive feedback, on their vision to transform the Abbeylands into a potential tourist and economic hub. This included developing almost 700 square metres enclosed landbank, known as the ‘Backlands’, contained within Main Street, Bridge Street, Townhall Street and Farnham Street.

“[The Donohoes Foodfare site] forms part of the broader Abbeylands regeneration project that we’ve been developing over the past year to 18 months,” says Mr Jennings.

“We’ve been involved in intensive public consultation on that whole area.

“The property owners have all had input into it, the community has had input into it, and in acquiring this property now, it gives a substantial landbank within the town core that allows us to hopefully begin developing this masterplan.”