€50m Cork Capitol Cinema project approved
A €50m redevelopment project at Cork's iconic Capitol Cinema site has been approved.
John Cleary Developments' ambitious plan aims to transform a city eyesore into a premium retail, business and leisure complex.
The old Capitol Cineplex site on the Grand Parade will be transformed into a five-storey complex with retail and commercial space as well as an artisan food innovation centre aimed at supplementing the nearby world-famous English Market.
The 0.65-acre site has been partly derelict since the famous Cork cinema closed a decade ago.
Now An Bord Pleanála have granted planning permission for the iconic Grand Parade site. Site work is set to start immediately with over 300 construction jobs. It is expected to be completed by Christmas 2016.
John Cleary Developments (JCD) bought the site last year for an estimated €6m - a fraction of what it cost to assemble the city centre area at the height of the property boom.
Ten years ago, it cost another developer a reported €70m to painstakingly put the site together through multiple property purchases including shops, pubs, restaurants and the Capitol Cineplex.
In 2008 planning was sought for a scheme worth up to €200m that would have included 100,000 sq ft of retail development.
However, the project never went ahead after the financial and property market crash.
JCD is the firm behind the €45m Albert Quay office development, the largest in Cork's history, which will eventually accommodate 1,700 workers.
Mr Cleary also masterminded the hugely successful City Gate development in Mahon, which now includes the Mater Hospital.
A Colliers International report described the project as "a catalyst project for Cork city centre - a game changer".
The project includes more than 48,500 sq ft of retail space spread over three floors and 37,000 sq ft of office space on its top levels.
A key element of the project will be the restoration of the Oyster Tavern, a famous pub which is more than 200 years old.