Cherrywood in South Dublin is rebooting scale retail in the city with a focus on right-size retail and leisure to meet the needs of customers, retailers and investors. Here RLI sits down with Derek Rossel, Development Director at Hines to learn more about this upcoming greenfield mixed-use scheme.

Being developed by family-owned U.S. property developer Hines, Cherrywood Town Centre is set to become a vibrant new destination in South Dublin which will include retail, F&B, leisure, workspace, community, medical and residential uses. The upcoming Cherrywood Town Centre project is set to further enhance a strategic and prestigious area in South Dublin, with Hines having already invested heavily in front-loading key infrastructure for the future Cherrywood community including roads, parks and cycleways.

The result of a major international architectural competition, the Cherrywood Town Centre is being, “designed from the ground up and off the back of major structural industry change,” said Derek Rossel, Development Director at Hines. “The project has been designed to a human scale with the customer of the future in mind to create a strong sense of place, foster real social connections and increase dwell times.” Delving into what Cherrywood will offer future visitors, Rossel described the scheme as being much more than just retail, stressing that it is not a ‘shopping mall’ but a ‘urban retail streets & squares scheme’ which aims to positively integrate the public realm with F&B, leisure, entertainment, art and culture to create an exciting new destination for Dublin where people want to meet up and spend time.

Momentum on the scheme is building and there is a lot happening this year, with the project currently in the process of signing high performance retailers who continue to trade strongly in a time of structural industry change. These are retailers that understand how customers want to shop, how they want to purchase and what experiences they wish to embrace and enjoy.

“In the last three months we have had really positive traction on the leasing front” explains Rossel. “We now have 50 per cent of the area under negotiation, and that is a combination of agreed terms and terms under final negotiation. This encompasses grocery, cinema, medical centre, food hall, lifestyle, pharmacy, high street fashion and department store.” Rossel added that Cherrywood is part of the big push now to deliver retailers a combination of right-sized retail for the future and a balanced mix of uses which aims to bring different people together at different times of day for different reasons.

Rossel believes that what they are seeing in the industry is the need to better utilise common areas and their emphasis on place versus space means they want to make sure they are activating these areas with different uses at Cherrywood. It may not always have to be performance event space all the time but he feels it needs to be flexible space that can cater to many different things. So looking ahead, what can future visitors expect from the retail-led mixed-use town centre in South Dublin that is being positioned as ‘Ireland’s Future of Retail’? “Our goal is to deliver a scheme that meets customer needs and expectations by incorporating the right mix of brands and experiences. It is also important to position these brands in the right locations so we have the right anchors and adjacencies, the combination of which will create an environment that is easy and convenient to navigate for the customer, and will also maximise sales turnover and commercial outcomes for retailers and investors.”

This upcoming project will stand out from the crowd because it is being built with the future in mind, a future where retail is slightly scaled back and enhanced by intelligently stitching together more mixed-use elements, combining residential, workspaces, leisure and open spaces. All of these elements are merging together which is what customers are now leaning more towards and will find within the Cherrywood Town Centre development.

“We are excited about what we’re undertaking here and by the positive feedback that we’re getting from the market. The message is that Ireland is open for business; it’s a buoyant retail market and underserved in terms of what customers want, making Ireland an attractive location for investment,” Rossel concludes.