£10M Dobbies set to be gamechanger for Northern Irish retail scheme

110k Sq ft store expected to attract 1m visitors per annum and create 150 new jobs at The Junction.

A Lotus Property-owned retail scheme in Northern Ireland has been named as the site for a new 110,000 sq ft Dobbies garden centre, cited to be among the largest in the chain’s portfolio.

Plans submitted today reveal details of the £10m deal for The Junction Retail and Leisure Park, in Antrim, which will incorporate an outdoor garden centre, an indoor plant area, a pet & bird care department, a food hall, a children’s soft play area and new restaurant and café.

The store is expected to attract a footfall of around one million visitors per annum, a massive boost to the scheme and the local area as well as being a gamechanger for the Northern Irish retail landscape, as the sector seeks to bounce back from a difficult 12 months following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The proposed new store will create 150 new full and part-time jobs, making it one of the largest employers at The Junction and within Antrim town.

Welcoming the news Lotus Property Managing Director, Alastair Coulson commented:

“We are thrilled to be able to reveal Dobbies as our latest addition at The Junction. This is a real boost not just for The Junction, but for Antrim and Northern Ireland as well, bringing significant investment and jobs to the area and putting Northern Ireland on the map as one of the UK’s most promising retail environments.

“The last year has proven to be very difficult for many retailers but this decision by a growing company likes Dobbies is a massive vote of confidence in The Junction as a retail destination – and an indication in the confidence of the Northern Irish consumer.

“Dobbies proposal to open one of its largest stores anywhere in the UK complements our existing portfolio at the retail park and our long-term vision to transform The Junction into one of the largest retail and leisure destinations in Northern Ireland. We look forward to working with the company in the coming months to deliver this exciting project”
The deal – which represents one of the most significant commercial property negotiations on the island of Ireland in recent years – was handled by Johnstone Property Consultants (JPC) Ltd.

Graeme Jenkins, CEO at Dobbies said: “Our Lisburn store is one of our most popular and we want to build on this success with a complementary store in Antrim. The Junction Retail and Leisure Park is a fantastic location and this development reinforces our ongoing ambition for growth.

“The Junction has a strong retail offer and we are very much looking forward to working with them, contributing to a must-visit leisure and shopping destination.”

Dobbies was founded in 1865 as Dobbie & Co and has grown and expanded in recent years to become the UK’s largest chain of garden centres. There are currently 71 Dobbies stores throughout the UK, but this will be just the second in Northern Ireland.