THE green light has been given for the €140m redevelopment of the old Port of Cork site on Custom House Quay, which will include a hotel, retail and office space, and a maritime heritage attraction.
Tower Holdings Group said the development will become an iconic landmark in the heart of Cork city and will further develop the city centre’s potential for growth in a post-Covid-19 era.
The project will include retail units, restaurants, office space, recreational areas, and a micro-distillery. It could create up to 800 jobs.
The new tower will see the incorporation and restoration of the historic Custom House, and will feature a sky-bar and restaurant.
Meanwhile, the bonded warehouses on the site will be given “a new lease of life” and opened to public access for the first time.
The design also includes an interactive visitors centre representing Cork’s rich maritime heritage as a port.
Cobh-based artist John Adams said:
“So much of Cork heritage buildings have been demolished in the last ten years, so many multinationals have taken over and local business driven out by high rates in Cork city.
“These beautiful buildings are the crown jewels of our city with such amazing history and such a strategic site.
“If we want to keep what's left of old Cork, people will need to act.”
However, Cork Chamber CEO Conor Healy praised the “bold” development.
“The treatment of the bonded warehouses, being opened to the public for the first time in history shows a commitment to enhancing our heritage experience, and the development will undoubtedly add spark to the economic diversity of the City centre,” he said.
Cork City Councillor Kieran McCarthy (Ind) admitted he was “torn” on the project.
He said plans to retain and conserve the old Custom House as well as the old warehouses are welcome, and that developers have achieved a “balance on the site” between moving forward and retaining important heritage.
Fellow City Councillor Oliver Moran (Greens) said conditions in the planning permission, including access to the quayside, new maritime facilities and 100 bike parking spaces as well as a contribution of over €400,000 towards suburban rail development, make the development a “win” for the city.