NORTH Main Street will become another marketable quarter of the city, similar to the Victorian Quarter around the wider MacCurtain Street area.
Those are the sentiments expressed by newly elected Lord Mayor, Councillor Joe Kavanagh, when asked about the future of the street, which has suffered in recent years.
Just last year he had proposed plans for the regeneration of the street, and while there is expected to be an application made to build student accommodation on the street soon, problems still persist.
The shopping centre has lost most of its tenants, while number 63 has been allowed to fall into significant disrepair with hoarding blocking pedestrians on one side of the street in front of the building.
The Lord Mayor has called for the building to be made safe, and added the street “does need to be regenerated.”
“It’s something I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about, and replicating what has been done on MacCurtain Street in North Main Street,” he said.
He also added that finding an anchor tenant for the North Main Street shopping centre would be key to the regeneration of the area, and would have a knock on effect on other businesses on the street, as well as neighbouring areas.
“There are some fantastic businesses down there. There is a mix of retail, coffee shops — there’s every type of business.
“Mick Murphy’s has been there since the year dot. You have Leaders, Bradleys.
“A lot of these shops are part of the old Cork city. People come down from the northside and enter the city through North Main Street in a lot of cases,” he added.
He also likened the strong group of traders on the street to the Princes Street traders who he said have “put their shoulder to the wheel”, by buying into the al fresco experience in front of their businesses, making it so successful.
“We’ve given them the ammunition, and by God they’ve come out firing. I have absolutely no doubt that the traders in the North Main Street would be no different,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Cork City Council is behind them, once the finances allow. It’s a case of putting plans together for the street to regenerate it. The businesses, the will and the history is there. The love for that area is there from the people of Cork.
“I think it’s only a matter of time, you will see another Victorian Quarter — we’ll call it the Edwardian Quarter, or the Georgian Quarter.”
Developers have recently unveiled plans for student accommodation on the street and hopes are high that a new hotel will form part of proposals to regenerate the North Main Street shopping centre.