The IDA wants to identify at least five large-scale potential strategic sites near Cork city that could be used for major future foreign direct investment projects across sectors such as life sciences and data centres.
It's about to engage engineers to scour the area for greenfield sites, each of which will need to be between 50 and 100 hectares in size, it says.
The groundwork being laid for the future foreign direct investment (FDI) comes shortly after the Government was warned that the Covid pandemic, coupled with other geopolitical issues, will make it more difficult for Ireland to lure FDI investment at the kind of levels seen here in recent years.
Cork is already home to major pharmaceutical and tech companies such as Pfizer, Apple and GE Healthcare.
In the past 20 years, more than €2.4bn has been invested in Ringaskiddy alone via FDI.
"IDA Ireland's property division regularly undertakes engineering assessments to identify landbanks suitable for future development from an access, services, zoning and infrastructure perspective," said an IDA spokesperson.
They added the agency, whose chief executive is Martin Shanahan, currently has strategic sites in 12 regional locations across Ireland.
"In Cork, we have landbanks in Carrigtwohill East, in Kilbarry in Cork city and in Ringaskiddy of 53, 57.5 and 168 hectares respectively," added the spokesperson. "Two of the three, in Ringaskiddy and Carrigtwohill, are strategic sites."
The IDA is now planning to hire consultant engineers to identify new strategic sites and to develop initial masterplans for them.
"Upon successful completion of the site assessment and due diligence it will be necessary to complete a notional masterplan of the lands taking into consideration the site size, utility and infrastructure requirements of IDA client industries such as life science, biopharmaceutical, medical technology, data centres et cetera," the State agency has told prospective candidates tendering for the role.
They'll also be tasked with interviewing landowners and liaising with neighbouring land and property owners, local authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant parties.
"A high-level capital cost of the required infrastructure to service the various sites is required," noted the IDA, which said that the sites must be close to Cork city and that local planners must be engaged to determine the zoning history of land parcels and the ability to rezone that land.
"The completion of engineering assessments is critical to understanding the landbanks available and infrastructural, services or other deficits that may need to be addressed," noted the IDA spokesperson.
They added: "It is a lengthy process, sometimes taking many years between suitable sites being identified, acquired and then purchased or leased by a company as it represents a heavy and long-term investment.
"The time can vary considerably, depending on the required infrastructure and services being in place and other variables. It is for that very reason that strategic planning takes place far ahead of time."