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Iconic South Docks milestone project to be €350m ‘game-changer’ for Cork expansion


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’s docklands are to be transformed in a €350m redevelopment project.

The plan will include a new hospital, three multi-storey office towers, an 11-storey apartment complex and the repurposing of a giant 131-year-old grain warehouse into a hospitality centre.

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

Planning for the project, by O’Callaghan Properties (OCP), will be lodged with Cork City Council over the coming weeks and, if given the go-ahead, will create more than 5,000 jobs when fully developed.

A core element will be the restoration of the 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 but derelict for many years – is an iconic structure in Cork and listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

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

Cork Airport completed a €10m 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 would involve an investment of €350m over a one million square foot development on a four-acre site, running from Marina Walk on the River Lee at Kennedy Quay.

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

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“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.”

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

The project centres on:
- A 122,000 square feet, 130-bed rehabilitation hospital.
- 450,000 square feet of office and mixed use space in three buildings ranging in height from nine to 12 storeys.
- A 80,000 square feet, 11-storey building with 80 apartments.
- Restoration of the derelict Odlums Mills to create two seven- and nine-storey buildings for residential, leisure, hospitality and commercial use.

Mr O’Callaghan said the South Docks was “a milestone project” for Cork. It would help reconnect the city centre with the docklands, with the Kennedy Quay promenade having the potential to become a visitor attraction in its own right, he added.

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