A New Way of Thinking

Currently under construction, the upcoming Cherrywood mixed-use project represents a step change in scale retail in the buoyant city of Dublin. Here, RLI sits down with Derek Rossel, Development Director at Hines, developers of this strategic urban development to discuss the features visitors can expect when the scheme opens to the public.

Cherrywood is the largest new sustainable greenfield urban development in Ireland. The masterplan of the 324ha site will include a retailled town centre of some 350,000sq m, Grade A workplaces, over 9,500 homes, 18,000 office workers, six new schools, three major parks, an extensive network of jogging and walking trails and a future population of more than 25,000 residents. Developers Hines are now working on the town centre section of this project, having already delivered over five kilometres of new roads, services and 82 acres of parkland.

The mixed-use scheme is located in the heart of the broader Cherrywood masterplan and in Ireland’s wealthiest retail catchment area. The 67,000sq m next generation retail town centre product will have a forward thinking mix of retail, F&B, leisure and entertainment uses with a strong emphasis on convenience, place and community – ensuring that it is well suited to meet structural retail industry change and evolving customer and retailer preferences in Ireland. When complete, Cherrywood Town Centre will be the newest scale retail scheme in almost 20 years in Dublin.

“Having launched our brand and retail scheme in May, we are currently in an intensive phase of anchor leasing, starting with the first five key deals. Currently the scheme is 20 per cent let and we are targeting around 50 per cent of the space to be leased by early-to-mid 2020,” explains Derek Rossel, Development Director at Hines. A key element of Cherrywood is the ‘Streets & Squares’ layout, which centres around delivering a retail led mixeduse project that delivers true retail convenience, a strong sense of place and a community hub that will foster social connections day and night, all working together to create a South Dublin destination that will draw different people in at different times of day for different reasons.

“In delivering this we have really focussed intensely on an individual customer’s journey for different visitation experiences to ensure that we are walking in the shoes of the customer. In doing so we have improved navigation and the pleasure of the shopping experience for customers and the trading experience for retailers,” says Rossel. The Cherrywood project will see three new to market concepts launch, each of which supports the goal of creating the ultimate experience for the customer. These include a 3,000sq m restaurant and bar street under one roof and a 2,000sq m experiential food hall connected to a destination rooftop bar with views of the Irish Sea and the Dublin Mountains.

The Cherrywood Town Centre sits at the geographical and social hear t of the masterplan and is the focal point of access from two key motorways with a light rail station at the front door of the scheme. The retail has been very carefully curated to ensure that it has a clear positioning in the market to complement existing offers while also offering the South Dublin catchment something very new, engaging and relevant to their evolving customer preferences and lifestyles in what is an affluent and aspirational market. “The retail scene in Ireland has been behind the curve for many years. Cherrywood is a reboot of scale retail in Dublin and as such we have opportunities to introduce new concepts, formats and brands to consumers who demand these elements but have been underserved to date. We anticipate that when we open that the response may well exceed our expectations given the pent-up demand for this kind of offer,” explains Rossel.

The approach to Cherrywood emerged and was strengthened by drawing on experiences, benchmarks and lessons learnt from across the globe, particularly in high growth markets like the Middle East and Asia where innovation and forward thinking are critical to thrive in highly competitive fast-paced environments. “We are creating an omni-channel platform that both customers and retailers are demanding for the future. With so much change in retail we are positioned with the right-sized mixed-use scheme, with ideal transport links and an enviable underserved catchment area. The combination of these factors and our dedication to create the best experience in the market will ensure that we have every chance to be a very successful proposition for all stakeholders.” Rossel concludes the interview by explaining that while market challenges will come and go; a quality product that understands the future will endure. Hines has taken a longterm view and is committed to Ireland and Cherrywood.

Article appeared in RLI Magazine on Wed 30 October 2019