Monday 22 January 2018

Landmark development will kick-start €1bn regeneration of Cork's docklands

Exclusive: It is expected to rank as one of the biggest investment projects in Ireland

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A LANDMARK development aims to kick-start the €1bn regeneration of Cork's docklands.

The multi-million Euro project, which is proposed for the Port of Cork docklands site, involves a major hotel development as well as related office and leisure facilities. understands that briefings on the proposed project have already taken place with senior Cork politicians and business leaders.

It is expected to rank as one of the biggest investment projects in Ireland when it comes to formal planning.

It is operating on the project name Time Square Development and, it is hoped, the development will kick-start the long-delayed regeneration of the sprawling Cork docklands.

One source indicated that it is proposed the development will bring a large Marriott Hotel chain facility to the city - also addressing a major requirement in Cork for extra hotel bed capacity.

While the primary focus of the project is on the historic Port of Cork site, it is understood that related developments could extend to other parts of the docklands as well as Horgan's Quay.

The docklands - hailed as the last great undeveloped urban land bank in Ireland - had been earmarked for a major residential, retail and leisure regeneration a decade ago.

That development, proposed by Howard Holdings, included four major apartment tower blocks and would also have involved a special €70m 'swing' bridge over the River Lee at Tivoli to improve northern access to the docklands.

However, it fell by the wayside after Ireland's economic and financial crisis.

Since then, the only major development in the docklands has been the €80m regeneration of Pairc Ui Chaoimh GAA stadium.

However, Cork is currently the focus of a major redevelopment of Kent railway station and is awaiting major construction on the long-awaited €70m convention centre.

Major investments have also been completed for Irish Independent Park and the old Capitol Cinema site.

Two giant city centre office blocks - One Albert Quay and Navigation Square - have also been sanctioned.

The former, which won the award for Ireland's most high tech building, was booked out before it was even completed.

Cork business leaders how hope the proposed docklands project will open the flood gates to developmental investment in the docklands.

Sources indicated that the new docklands project is in the advanced design stage.

However, it is believed to be some time from submission for formal planning.

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