TALL buildings planned for the Docklands will complement each other by creating height and much-needed density, according to the Irish representative of a New York firm looking to build two of them in Cork.
Conor Lee, director of operations at the Tower Holdings Group, which is behind plans for a 140 metre tall skyscraper at Custom House Quay and the 15-storey Prism building behind the city’s bus station, has said that taller buildings make sense for Cork as brownfield development on the docklands ramps up with the Port of Cork set to move to Ringaskiddy.
Mr Lee told the Construction Industry Federation Southern Construct conference that New York-based Tower Holdings - owned by Kerry native Kevin O’Sullivan - sees Cork as a “blank canvas” and noted the city has a history of tall buildings including County Hall, the Shandon Tower and St Finbarr’s Cathedral.
He added the potential development of Railway Gardens located close to the Elysian tower facing onto the Rockboro and Gasworks roads - where developers plan to build 118 apartments on the site - the Sextant 200-apartment development at Albert Quay by JCD developments, as well as the Horgan’s Quay development north of the river will be crucial to job and population growth.
“It’s the right time to be here. The Custom House development is a really good scheme, we believe.
“We are really excited to get through planning and we hope that will be successful.
“All of these taller buildings are starting to cluster on the new docklands. The Sextant will complement what we are trying to do.”
He added that tall buildings will define the contrast between the current city and its expansion into the docklands. But warned that it is important that developers pay attention to the need for sustainability and height and density.
Mr Lee explained that developers are attracted to the city by the Government’s ambitious Project Ireland 2040 plans which project an increase to the city population of 360,000 in the next two decades and the €3.5bn Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy which has light rail, improved road and suburban networks, and cycle and pedestrian elements built in to run in tandem with the 2040 plans.
Tower Holdings have forged a reputation as builders of high-quality thin skyscrapers, dubbed ‘skinny scrapers’, in New York’s Manhattan.