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The secondary retail market in Dublin has dramatically altered over the last four years. Indeed, the entire retail market in Dublin and countryside has witnessed a substantial upsurge in activity over the last four years. On Grafton Street retail Zone A rents are breaking £2,153 per square metre (£200 per square foot) barrier and premiums are in the region of £300,000 -£400,000. There is currently a shortage of good retail investment opportunities on Grafton Street, which is leading investors to turn to Dublin’s other prime street, Henry Street. Over the last year Zone A rents on Henry Street have increased to about £1.830 per square metre (£170 per square foot) and there has been a return to the payment of premiums. Outside of Dublin City Centre the new regional centres are performing extremely well and have resulted in increasing levels of competition between retail locations. The question that must be asked is what will happen to in-town shopping? Will the city centre be able to compete with the out-of-town centres where everything is available under one roof and car-parking is free? These areas are examined in detail, which leads to the introduction of the concept of Town Centre Management (TCM). This concept is explored indicating its benefits and indicating how Dublin City Centre could especially be improved with a comprehensive TCM Policy, Examples of the different TCM Policies provides an insight into which would be most suitable for Dublin. TCM has been very successful in towns in Britain and would certainly revitalise Dublin City. This research focuses primarily on secondary retail streets. Most of the research that has been undertaken regarding retail property relates to the prime areas. This research attempts to determine how the secondary streets have performed during the upsurge in retail activity over the last number of years, particularly since the commencement of the “Celtic Tiger” in 1994. It is examined both in terms of retail development and investment opportunities. The early chapters of the report are devoted to defining and analysing what constitutes a secondary street and how recent trends have changed. A Profile of Streets is identified which will be used in comparison with the prime areas. The Investment Section forms a substantial part of the report. It will analyse the breakdown between private investors and the institutions and a rent table is compiled which will be useful for players in the property section to examine as it will enable them at a glance to ascertain rents, yields, capital values etc. in the secondary market which can then be compared to the prime sectors to establish just how well secondary investments are performing. The research also deals with Socio-Economic features such as how the city-centre is affected by population growth and also various incentives which have been introduced such as “living over the shop”. Planning is also an issue which is included in the overall report. The 1998 Draft Development Plan for Dublin City contains various specific policies for secondary retail areas in Dublin thus signifying their continuing importance in the City. Secondary retail property is a lucrative investment as returns over the last five years indicate. The structure of the market has changed considerably as the quality of tenants have improved and streets are identifying niches in the market. The continued shortage of prime retail investment and the constraints introduced by the Bacon Report, in relation to residential property, will ensure that secondary retail property will continue to be a viable investment. The continued success of the secondary retail market will be dependent upon economic performance, which is forecast to remain very favourable over the next five years.
Murphy, E.: The Secondary Retail Market - a Viable Option? Masters Thesis. Dublin Institute of Technology, 1999.