Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD to the official sod-turning Ceremony at the centre in Co Longford last September.

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Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD to the official sod-turning Ceremony at the centre in Co Longford last September. Photo: Shane O’Neill, SON Photographic
Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD to the official sod-turning Ceremony at the centre in Co Longford last September.

A multi-million euro endeavor to build a 21km pipeline to being gas to the new Center Parcs vacation and leisure hotel in Co Longford is up for grabs.

Gas Networks Ireland has established a tender for the project, which can see the pipeline brought from Co Westmeath to Co Longford, twisting its way across the M6 motorway.

Additional, shorter pipelines will also be needed as part of the undertaking, bringing the entire amount of pipes to be laid to 27km.

Center Parcs is currently spending €233m building its first ever Irish park, along with the pipeline will even open up gas supplies to homes and businesses in Co Longford.

Center Parcs appointed Sisk as the main contractor last month. Earthworks being undertaken by Roadbridge are underway for a while, and building was set to start this week.

The park, set to open in 2019, is located in the Newcastle Woods, near Ballymahon.

Center Parcs acquired almost 400-acres of land from State-owned forestry set Coillte about which to build the centre.

Last calendar year, Center Parcs declared it had reached a deal with Gas Networks Ireland to expand the natural gas pipeline during Co Longford.

The leisure team is contributing €3m towards the undertaking.

Gas Networks Ireland has only issued an invitation to tender for the most significant section of the undertaking.

The newest 21km pipeline will traverse a rural route from a location a brief distance from the east of Athlone city, and then cross the M6 motorway outside it before twisting its way through relatively flat rural land to Rathmore, close to the Center Parcs hotel.

“This development eases the upcoming expansion of the gas network in Longford and offers local homes and businesses the opportunity to profit from the substantial cost and environmental advantages natural gas delivers,” he said. Preliminary work on part one of the gas pipeline has already commenced in the region and mains pipe placing is anticipated to be carried out in summertime 2018, after the tender process which is now underway.

Work on a different, briefer part of pipeline, will start next month.

The Center Parcs development, which will be called Longford Forest, will soon be open 365 days a year and adapt to 2,500 guests at 470 lodges and 30 apartments.

It’ll feature a great number of activities and facilities, such as restaurants, spas and shops, in addition to a ‘sub-tropical’ swimming playground that will be Ireland’s largest such fascination.

The playground is expected to employ as many as 1,000 people and to donate €32m a year to the market.

It acquired the company in 2015 for about £2.4bn out of US private equity giant Blackstone.

Blackstone was considering a flotation of the Center Parcs firm but instead opted to get a purchase.

Irish Independent

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