Demolition of old 'Texas' site paves way for major redevelopment project
The demolition of the old ‘Texas’ department store in the centre of Tullamore is expected to pave the way for the redevelopment of one of the most sought-after sites in the urban area.
The prime site, which was once a thriving retail hub when it was home to the busy Texas department store and Quinnsworth supermarket (later Tesco) has lain idle for over a decade, during which it fell into a serious state of dereliction.
The demolition of the old Texas store is being seen as a signal that work will finally get underway on progressing an ambitious new plan for a 0.73 hectare portion of the site which will encompass a 1,644 sq. m retail store (to include off licence use); a three-storey 874 sq m retail/office unit and a two storey 281 sq m café.
In March of last year, Offaly County Council granted planning permission for the major mixed-use commercial development project to Weavermay Ltd., which is headed up by well-known local businessman, Tony Flanagan. The old ‘Texas’ site was purchased by Weavermay Ltd., and Cayenne Holdings in 2018, and was later divided in half by agreement of both parties, who each have different plans for their respective sites.
Along with the construction of a major retail complex on the old Texas site, the plans for the area include car and bicycle parking, a new pedestrian and cycle walkway between Offaly Street and O’ Connell Street, and pedestrian and cycle access to Offaly Street.
Along with the redevelopment of the former Tullamore DEW building on Bury Quay as a café, gastropub and live music venue, the transformation of the old Texas site would revitalise an area of Tullamore which has been neglected for many years.
The landmark Tullamore DEW building, which is located on the banks of the Grand Canal at Bury Quay, was acquired in 2021 by a company called Emante Ltd., made up of a partnership between Alan Clancy, a prominent figure in the entertainment and hospitality industry and Open winner and Clara native, Shane Lowry. The new facility opened its doors to the public as the rebranded ‘Old Warehouse’ on December 1 last and has become a hugely popular addition to the local social scene.
The old Texas site has had a long history since the department store which was owned by local businessman,Tom McNamara, closed its doors to the public for the last time in 2007 having traded for many years in what was the former Irish Mist building on Offaly Street.
The site was sold to Navan-based businessman Navan-based businessman, Eamon Duignan, who announced hugely-ambitious plans to construct a massive shopping centre on the site of the former Texas department store and the former Tesco supermarket, with Penneys as the anchor tenant. However, those plans were abandoned when the economic crash happened.
It took another twelve years before another planning application would be submitted for the same site when Weavermay Ltd., applied to develop a portion of the Texas site in 2020. That application was subsequently withdrawn when Offaly County Council sought a detailed masterplan for the site which it described as “a prime opportunity site.”
Weavermay Ltd., lodged a new planning application on July 7, 2021 which included a detailed masterplan for the site. The developers stated that the site had the potential for the formation of a new urban quarter in Tullamore, and expressed the hope that the inclusion of an attractive public space as part of the plans would reinvigorate the area, and would be a catalyst for further development in the town centre area.