Major commercial expansion gives new life to Roscommon

The commercial face of Roscommon town has changed almost beyond recognition in the past five years and P. Burke of Sherry FitzGerald Burke has been at the heart of some of the major commercial ventures in the town, including the arrival of Tesco and the creation of Harrison Centre. In terms of commercial property in town, there has been a huge expansion in recent years and many of the units constructed in recent years are now full. The arrival of Tesco in Roscommon was a significant development in terms of the development of the town and P. Burke believes that the confidence shown by the large retailer in Roscommon encouraged other major stores to locate in town.  ‘When we did the deal with Tesco, that was the biggest turning point. Then there were the 12 shops in Harrison Centre and it was a fair achievement for us to put that together. The last piece of the jigsaw was the restaurant, Jackson’s restaurant. That whole deal took a few years to put together,’ recalls P.  The commercial side of the property business continues to be a busy one at Sherry FitzGerald P. Burke. Now, the office is working on a development at Ballypheason, negotiating for a number of leases at that development. ‘The development beside Casey’s, built by Paddy Sweeney and Tom Considine. That’s going to have a DIY store and garden centre and underground car parking and surface car parking. There is also five or six shop units there for lease or sale,’ reports P. Meanwhile, he is also working on developments at Castle Street, Circular Road, Goff Street, Chapel Lane and Ballypheason House and Terrace. ‘The town is fairly well catered for at the moment with the amount of commercial property. They will be filled, but I do feel you have a fair bit of commercial property on offer. However, that is doing better than residential property at the moment.’ ‘The commercial property business will be fairly good this year because Roscommon is a growing town. The decentralisation of 200 permanent jobs will be a big plus for the town. There are a lot of public sector jobs in Roscommon, with the courthouse, hospital, Department of Agriculture and the Garda Station, which is to be the new Divisional headquarters.’ P. is happy that the real commercial heart of the town is based on the spending of people employed in public sector jobs, and the fact that the town is not dependent on one or two big multinational factories makes for a more secure future. ‘The success of the town is more down to the permanent pensionable jobs, there is more of a sense of security from those jobs and that is no harm.’ So, what are people looking for in terms of commercial properties? ‘The most popular are shop units 1,000 to 1,200 sq. ft. There is a fair amount of franchise businesses looking around at the moment to see if they can get units,’ notes P. ‘We will have some of the bigger operators like furniture stores etc. that will locate in Centre Point and the town centre will cater for the 1,000 sq. ft shop. For the size and population of the town, we have Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl and Aldi and they are all employing people. So this type of commercial development is also a good boost for the town and for Roscommon Council. The level of rates will be increased and in turn the council can spend more money on infrastructure such as roads, footpaths car parking etc.’