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Cork given go-ahead for transformational €350m docklands project

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An artist’s impression of the revamped South Docks in Cork city

An artist’s impression of the revamped South Docks in Cork city

An artist’s impression of the revamped South Docks in Cork city

CORK has given the go-ahead to a transformational €350 million docklands project which will include a new hospital, three multi-storey office towers, an 11 storey apartment complex and the re-purposing of a giant 131 year old grain warehouse into a hospitality complex.

The plan for Cork's South Docks has been hailed as "a game-changer" for the city in its bid to dramatically increase in size over the next four decades and rival Dublin as a southern powerhouse.

The project has also been hailed as the first step towards unleashing the vast potential of Cork's €1 billion dockland landbank.

O'Callaghan Properties lodged a planning permission application last autumn with Cork City Council.

It has now been confirmed that the council has given the ambitious project the green light.

However, any conditions attached to the development will only be revealed in the coming days.

O'Callaghan Properties said the project will create over 5,000 jobs when fully developed.

A core element will be the restoration of the historic Odlums Mills building which dominates Cork's quays - and the creation of a landmark rooftop destination offering panoramic views over the city centre.

The six storey brick building - constructed between 1890 and 1895 – is an iconic structure in Cork and is listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

It has been derelict for some time and fears were raised about its future.

The South Docks project follows major developments at Penrose Dock and Horgan's Quay as well as the re-ordering of the Dunkettle Interchange to enhance access to Cork city from the east and north.

Two major buildings have also been developed on the approach to Cork's docklands, One Albert Quay and Navigation Square.

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Cork Airport completed a €10 million runway refurbishment on budget and on time while a new light rail network is also proposed for the city.

OCP managing director, Brian O’Callaghan, said the south docks project will involve an investment of €350 million over a one million sq. ft.development on a 4.162 acres site running from Marina Walk onto the River Lee at Kennedy Quay.

“Cork city’s population is projected to increase by 50pc by 2040," he said.

"The docklands will drive rapid economic development for Cork and already has shown itself capable of hosting large scale multinational and indigenous investment projects."

"It is largely underutilised and presents a wonderful opportunity for the city to expand eastwards."

“South Docks has played a key role in the social and working life of the city and has constantly evolved and changed. The area has moved from industrial use to the “new economy” and our project not only facilitates that journey but creates a new focal point for the city, a new, sustainable amenity of scale."

A key element of the project will be the provision of 2,000 new homes.

The project revolves around:

  • 122,000 sq.ft. 130 bed rehabilitation hospital
  • 450,000 sq. ft. of office and mixed use in three buildings ranging in height from nine to 12 storeys
  • 80,000 sq. ft. 11 storey building with 80 “build to sell” apartments
  • restoration and re-purposing of the derelict Odlums Mills to create two seven and nine storey buildings for residential, leisure, hospitality and commercial use.

The project also includes ambitious plans for a new connection to the river as well as pedestrian and cycleways.

Mr O'Callaghan said the South Docks is "a milestone project" for Cork and will help reconnect the city centre with the docklands.

The promenade at Kennedy Quay has the potential to become one of the city’s primary pedestrian routes and a visitor attraction in its own right.

The developers insisted the project perfectly matches the Government's commitment to the development of a "15 minute city" across Irish urban locations - with everything being within easy access for residents.

OCP revealed the rehabilitation hospital will be operated by ORPEA Group, a French multinational healthcare company which has facilities in 22 countries with 68,000 employees.

The hospital will be the only such facility in Ireland outside of Dublin and will address a significant regional and national health infrastructure deficit.


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