REPORTS BY KEVIN MAGEE
Imposing and Impressive: the Idealistic layout, above, of the Bow Street Mall in Lisburn. The £9 million hypermarket complex is due to be completed by Christmas next year.
As well as accommodating Crazy Prices and Texas Homecare, the development, which will be built in three phases, is designed to attract numerous small businesses.
It will give a new emphasis to Lisburn's reputation as the Province's boom town.
Lisburn is poised to challenge Belfast as the shopping Mecca of Northern Ireland. The borough has been targeted by trade developers, anxious to share the spoils of the consumer boom.
The £9 million Texas-Crazy Prices development announced yesterday is the latest in a series, of multi-million pound schemes aimed at wooing shoppers to the town.
It will bring planned investment in the area over the past six months to £40 million.
Mr Fred Millar, of Crazy Prices, said at yesterday's launching ceremony: " The Bow Street Mall plan will draw people into Lisburn from outside areas, including Belfast. It will lead to extra traffic flow from a 15 mile radius."
Democratic Unionist councillor, the Rev William Beattie, who is a former chairman of the Lisburn Economic Development Organisation, yesterday referred to "fierce competition for shoppers between Lisburn and Belfast".
He said: "Lisburn will soon become a trading metropolis. The Northern Ireland market has only certain dimensions, and this town is trying to get as big a slice of the action as possible."
Consumer expenditure in the Province passed the £5,000 million mark in 1985, and an increasing share of this money, as well as cross border trade, is finding its way into the tills of Lisburn traders.
A Planning Appeals Commission announcement about the proposed Marks and Spencer complex at Sprucefield, just outside the town, is expected soon.
The application is for a 65,000 square foot complex which will include: a garden centre, restaurant, car and coach park, bus layby and an access road.
Mr David Cryer, deputy manager of the Belfast branch of Marks and Spencer, said: "We are ready to go ahead any time but are still waiting the outcome of the inquiry.
The scheme would have a definite knock on effect, and bring even more business to the area."
While the Belfast Chamber of Trade has said it welcomes the Texas-Crazy Prices development, it has fought a determined campaign against the Sprucefield megastore.
Chamber of Trade president, Michael Ryder said he welcomed yesterday's announcement, because it would add life to Lisburn town centre.
He said: "The reason we objected to the Sprucefield development is that it is outside the Belfast urban area".
He denied the objection was because of fear that Sprucefield would bleed Belfast city centre of its shoppers, but he agreed, Lisburn was rapidly becoming a boom town.
"The large number of traders looking for premises in the town is an indication of its profitability as a business location," he said.
Lisburn Alliance Party councillor Seamus Close said the town had grown to "unrecognisable proportions" in the last 20 years.
"We definitely need more car parking spaces and a more regulated traffic flow," he said. The key to Lisburn's success is its location. It lies in a strategic position, eight miles south of Belfast at the head of the Lagan valley. Many of the province's arterial routes, including the M1 motorway, leading south, pass the town.
Lisburn's early prosperity came with the French Huguenots, who brought their skills and adapted them to their surroundings.
Hypermarket for boom town
Mr Malcolm Lynch, second left, managing director of Crazy Prices, with Mr Tom Turner, left, shopping centre executive, Mr Mike Hunter, right, project architect, and Mr Mervyn Bryson, architect, at yesterday's Press conference to launch the development plan.
PLANS for a £9.5 million hypermarket complex in Lisburn town centre were officially unveiled yesterday.
Work has already started on the development, which will create 200 jobs and bring many new shops to the town.
The 140,000 sq. ft. complex is to be known as the Bow Street Mall and will "run through" the existing Crazy Prices premises, connecting Bow Street to a new Crazy Prices megastore.
Almost one third of the complex, which will resemble a covered high street will be given over to new traders. The remainder will be made up of an extended Texas Homecare store and the new Crazy Prices.
Crazy Prices will provide £8 million of the capital cost, and Texas Homecare the remaining �1.5 million. The complex will be accessible from both Antrim Street and Bow Street.
Mr Malcolm Lynch, Crazy Prices chief, said: "The mall will make a major contribution to strengthening and improving the retailing mix and attraction of Lisburn town centre.
"We have had a very encouraging response from traders ' who are interested in moving into the mall when it is completed.
The glazing bill for the mall will be £300,000, natural light being an important feature of the plan.
There will also be a novel concept of a covered walk at the edge of the car park where customers can collect their shopping.
Mr Ian McMillan, Crazy Prices development officer, said: "Every idea in the retail trade has been incorporated into the design. We have created a superstore with its own separate identity."
"The existing site is no longer able to service existing business in the town," said Mr McMillan.
The site will be developed in three phases, and the estimated completion date for the entire scheme is Christmas, 1988.