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Thursday 2 October 2014

Council abandons concert venue plan

Published 16/08/2014 | 02:30

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A LOCAL authority has embarrassingly abandoned a high-profile tender process for a €50m concert venue.

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Cork City Council confirmed, via a posting on the EU tenders website, that it was suspending a lengthy tender process for a new 7,000-seat concert venue and opting for an alternative direct negotiating process with interested parties.

One bidder, property developer Owen O'Callaghan, said he was not surprised by the decision, which has left council officials red faced.

It followed concerns that the tender system was not legally valid, given that events centre operator Live Nation, which runs Dublin's O2, had withdrawn from the two main bids.

Withdrawal

Live Nation's shock withdrawal from the two leading bids came after it voiced concerns over conditions applied by City Hall. It had been feared that these conditions might hit future commercial operations.

Only one tender was submitted to the city council by the July 4 deadline, from BAM/Heineken.

Mr O'Callaghan, who is leading the rival project, opted not to submit a tender, amid concerns it would not be legally valid without having an events operator on board.

"We are not surprised at this outcome," he said.

However, the developer insisted that his firm was still very interested in providing a modern events centre for Cork.

BAM/Heineken, which had submitted a tender, is also committed to providing a concert venue.

The BAM/Heineken bid is focussed on the old Beamish & Crawford brewery site on South Main Street.

Mr O'Callaghan's bid involves a site on Albert Road, not far from Cork's docklands.

Irish Independent

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