One of the town’s largest undeveloped sites, which has languished in neglect for three decades, has been snapped up by Dungannon Council for a knockdown £575,000.
The weed-covered three-acre plot on the corner of Ann Street, which sold for £3million in 2007, has long been a symbol of the neglect in the west of the town.
Grand visions for the site have fizzled in the past. Once envisioned as the location for a new Dunnes Stores outlet to rival Tesco’s, the retail hopes were dashed when the firm shelved the plans and allowed the site to fall into disuse.
Other ill-fated projects included plans for an 80 bedroom motel and 100 apartments.
In 2007, a consortium paid an estimated £3m for the site, and announced plans to develop 75,000 square feet of retail space with underground parking. However the development project fell foul of the property crash.
It is understood that the council now plan to build a mixture of retail and residential units on the site.
Brian MacAuley, Director of Dungannon Enterprise Centre, said that community leaders had grown pessimistic of the private sector ever successfully developing the wasteground.
“We have been campaigning for the council to buy this site, and are delighted that this has finally come to pass. I would like to commend the council for its bravery and positive forward thinking.
“This site has had a troubled history and casts a pall over the west of the town. If you wanted to shoot a movie about urban decay set in the 1970s then Ann Street would be the perfect location.
“We are also delighted that the council is considering a mix of retail and residential units, as well as some green space development. These plans will breathe economic life into this part of the town, bring in more traffic and customers and give the town a better balance in terms of business distribution.”