A CORK city councillor has called for a shopping outlet centre similar to Kildare Village to be established in the city centre.
In a motion submitted by Fianna Fáil councillor Seán Martin, he requested that Cork City Council in conjunction with the Cork Business Association, Cork Chamber of Commerce and relevant national bodies would explore the concept of a Kildare Village type development in the city centre.
“Given the vacancies in our malls and recent closures of various businesses we should explore the feasibility of same.
“The build is there and with targeted tax breaks vis a vis rates and other financial incentives there may be an opportunity to redirect the Cork shopping experience.
“The island is compact and lends itself thus.
“We have the English Market, the restaurants, the pubs and we should build on the existing retail experience,” Councillor Martin’s motion stated.
Speaking at last night’s city council meeting, the Cork City South-Central councillor said there is a need to “reimagine Cork city after Covid” and what is the “best fit” for the city centre.
“I know the county council were looking at a Kildare type development down towards Carrigtwohill but I think Cork city is very well placed to give the shopper that type of experience.
“It’s a very compact city centre, it’s very accessible from all parts of the city from outside and I think we need to look at that,” he said.
“I think we need to use what’s already there, we don’t have to rebuild everything. There’s plenty of opportunity for us as a council to develop it,” Councillor Martin added.
In a report to councillors, Cork City Council’s Director of Strategic & Economic Development Fearghal Reidy said the idea will be explored.
“Whilst Kildare Village is a Retail Outlet Centre, the concept of developing the mix of high quality retail, cafés, bars and restaurants in a setting that is easily accessible by and pleasant for pedestrians and adds to the experience of the city will be considered.
“Cork City Council is also aware that retail outlet centres tend to trade at large discounts, and that the market will be an influencing factor in their viability and location.
“In parallel, the city council would engage with property owners and developers to advance schemes that would improve the attractiveness of the city centre.
“Cork City Council has implemented an ambitious programme of pedestrianisation, street cleaning, walking and cycling improvements and street furniture licencing under ‘Reimagining Cork City’ with a view to improving the attractiveness of Cork as a place to shop and visit, and thus sustain and build businesses,” he said.
“With the support of the National Transport Authority, this plan can continue in the medium and long term, and be reflected in the City Development Plan.
“Cork City Council will commission a review and update of the City Centre Strategy, that will include consideration of such a mix of development within the city centre, that can be advanced with key stakeholders including Cork Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce,” Mr Reidy continued.