A view of the Avison Young sign seeking expressions of interest in relation to the former O’Neill’s site fronting onto Sean Costello Street and Mardyke Street.

Key Athlone site now on the market

The redevelopment of a pivotal Athlone location long described as an eyesore is moving closer to reality after signs went up in recent days seeking expressions of interest for the former O'Neill's pub site.

Avison Young describes it as a “unique development opportunity” in a high-profile location fronting onto Sean Costello Street, Pump Lane and Mardyke Street, Athlone, with offers in the region of €300,000 being sought by the Irish office of the worldwide real estate firm.

The 0.034-hectare site was subject to compulsory purchase by Westmeath County Council which took ownership a year ago, more than a decade after the former O'Neill's pub and Finlay Auctioneering site were destroyed by fire in December 2010 and had been lying idle in the interim.

Spanning around 306 square metres, the site in the heart of the commercial core, according to the marketing documents, is put forward for sale - seeking expressions of interest - as part of a unique opportunity for a mixed use commercial and residential development.

Last month, the local authority sought tenders for the development of the next phase of the Athlone Town Centre enhancement project, which includes the former hostelry site.

The project works proposed relate to a triangular area connecting Mardyke Street, Sean Costello Street and Pump Lane, which join with the eastern end of Church Street and Dublin Gate Street in Athlone.

It involves the pedestrianisation of a 90-metre part of Sean Costello Street between Flannery's pub and Custom Cuts at Sweeney's Corner, a new traffic layout bringing vehicles through Church Street via Mardyke Street, upgraded streets and pavements and an improved public realm.

The council previously said it believes the site, zoned ‘mixed use’ in the current Athlone Development Plan, will attract significant interest from developers and act as a catalyst for a major revival in the area.

Some €4.13m million in funding for the streetscape project was announced back in March 2021.

The council's regeneration project manager Deirdre Reilly told members of the Athlone Moate Municipal District earlier this year that it was hoped to be able to start construction before the end of this year.

Senior Westmeath County Council planner Cathaldus Hartin promoted the idea recently that the streetscape revamp could eventually help to create a "vibrant" hub of bars and restaurants similar to areas like Quay Street in Galway.