Saturday 29 April 2017

€90m Cork docklands plan gets green light

A graphic artist's impression of the planned development in the Cork docklands.
A graphic artist's impression of the planned development in the Cork docklands.
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

DEVELOPMENT of Cork's vast docklands is set to be kick-started by a €90m office block aimed at resolving a chronic shortage of commercial space in the city centre.

The Navigation Square complex, which is comprises four separate blocks on a 2.25 acre site in the heart of Cork city centre, will provide accommodation for up to 3,000 employees and more than 310,000sq ft of office space.

It ranks as the largest development of its type ever undertaken outside Dublin.

Yesterday, An Bord Pleanála (ABP) confirmed the withdrawal of all remaining planning appeals to the development.

The project was granted planning permission by Cork City Council last September but a number of planning objections were lodged.

The withdrawal of all appeals now means that construction work will begin immediately.

O'Callaghan Properties boss, Brian O'Callaghan, hailed the ABP confirmation as "a great day for Cork and for the region".

"Navigation Square is a flagship, ambitious development that further confirms that Cork city is capable of hosting large scale multinational and indigenous investment projects," he said.

The project was the brainchild of the late Cork developer, Owen O'Callaghan. Mr O'Callaghan, who developed Cork's Mahon Point Shopping Centre and Opera Lane retail complex, last year predicted the project and its office space will transform Cork city centre and its docklands.

The Albert Quay site, adjacent to where Mr O'Callaghan had proposed to develop a Cork events centre, is considered strategic to Cork's docklands redevelopment.

The plan also seeks to address the lack of office space in the city centre. The project will involve more than 350 construction jobs and is scheduled to be completed within 18 months.

Coupled with a parallel project on Andersons Quay, O'Callaghan Properties will provide 460,000 sq ft of office accommodation in the next two years.

The development by Mr O'Callaghan now brings to over €350m the major projects currently underway in Cork city.

These include the €60m Cork events centre being built by BAM/Heineken on the old Beamish & Crawford site, €60m One Albert Quay office complex, the €3m facelift for Kent railway station, the €70m revamp of Pairc Ui Chaoimh GAA stadium, the €3.2m Irish Independent rugby stadium revamp and the €50m Capitol retail complex.

'Navigation Square' will also include roof terraces with spectacular views of the city, two stand-alone restaurant units and staff facilities.

An ambitious €1bn plan to transform Cork's vast docklands by creating housing for 23,000 residents and up to 27,000 was one of the first victims of Ireland's property and financial crisis. The plan also involved a new €80m swing-bridge to link Tivoli directly with the docklands and provide down-river access to the sprawling landbank.

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