The Florentine shopping complex planned for the centre of Bray looks set to finally proceed.

Wicklow County Council have taken the next step in the process and begun to seek a development partner for the project which is estimated to have a gross development value of €30-€35 million. The council have approached Larry Brennan of Savills to manage the appointment of the development partner and contractor for the ambitious project. The appointments are to be made by March with the aim of completing the project, which covers 23,225sq m (250,000sq ft), by the end of 2017

The 2.4 acre site, which sits on Bray’s main street, has been the subject of a number of retail-led development proposals since 1996. After recently acquiring the site, Wicklow County Council sought the approval of An Bord Pleanála for a more modest retail development which will include anchor stores, retail units, restaurants, offices, a multiplex cinema and car parking facilities. The plans will also require the development of a new urban street which will allow access from Bray’s main street along with a central plaza with pedestrian access from Quinsborough Road.

The development of the Florentine Centre would transform the retail and evening economy of Bray where the main street in particular is lacking in restaurants, larger retail units and leisure offerings.

With a population of over 30,000, Bray is the main commercial town serving north Wicklow. It is well serviced by both the national road network, via the M11 and the M50, and public transport, via the DART, national rail services and Dublin Bus. The town has a strong tourist and heritage base and is the gateway to the Wicklow Mountains and the south-west of the country.

A decision on the planning application is due from An Bord Pleanála before the end of the year.