Fresh doubts raised over Cork event centre operation due to coronavirus pandemic

Fresh doubts raised over Cork event centre operation due to coronavirus pandemic
Former Beamish & Crawford brewery site on South Main Street, beside the River Lee. Student apartments and Event Centre site.Pic; Larry Cummins

Concern has been expressed that the promoters involved in the Cork Events Centre project may not proceed with their involvement in the development.

It has been reported that event centre operator Live Nation is looking to slash costs by up to 500 million US dollars due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting concern the planned multi-purpose venue could form part of the cuts.

The Echo has contacted Live Nation for comment their commitment to the project.

Lord Mayor John Sheehan said that with the whole world of entertainment changing as concerts and events are cancelled will obviously impact on Live Nation as a company, but said that the Council have heard nothing from the company yet.

“We won’t hear anything for a while because there’s a whole process to go through. It’s exactly the same as every other concert or every other venue that’s dealing with uncertainty,” he said.

“There has been nothing from Live Nation to contradict anything we have heard already as regards the project going ahead, but obviously this is a new world we’re in so we have to recognise that,” he added.

Artist impressions of the Event Centre as of 15/10/2019 and the bridges that give access. Pictures supplied by G-Net 3D www.gnet.ie.
Artist impressions of the Event Centre as of 15/10/2019 and the bridges that give access. Pictures supplied by G-Net 3D www.gnet.ie.

Independent councillor Ken O' Flynn said that he is seriously concerned that Cork City Council and the Government have no viable alternative plan if the operators were to pull out.

“We all want to see a Cork Events Centre happening but when you only have one company to choose from to run it you are at the mercy of that company. Live Nation has said that they are currently reassessing all capital investment projects and cutting expenditure by $500m this year," Councillor O'Flynn said.

He said his understanding is that Live Nation is reassessing its involvement in the project.

“Like so many companies at present their business is currently completely closed and all of their festivals and events have been postponed or cancelled and obviously they have to reassess everything,” he added, while calling for the chief executive of Cork City Council to clarify the situation.

Councillor O’Flynn said: “Let’s be hopeful that Live Nation won’t shelve the Cork Event Centre, but if they do, we need to be ready with alternative plans.

“It will be no good saying 'oh we didn't plan for that to happen'. It can and does happen as we now know only too well,” he added.

He also called for the publication of a critical assessment of the project detailing the time, effort and money put into the project, and the alternative options available.

“If there is no critical assessment plan available then its scandalous when you consider that €50m of taxpayers money is being invested in it and now at a time when business is so uncertain in Cork and so many major retail outlets are pulling out of Cork,” Councillor O’Flynn said.

A Cork City Council spokesperson told The Echo that the local authority hasn't had any contact from Live Nation on the issue.

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