CORK’s south docklands could be transformed after O’Callaghan Properties reached a conditional agreement to purchase 31 acres of land for €47.5 million.
The site is zoned for urban development and is being disposed of by agri-services group Origin Enterprises.
The deal is subject to conditions including the facilitating of the relocation of Origin Enterprises relocation to an alternative location at an “economically viable” cost.
Origin CEO Tom O’Mahony said: “We look forward to actively working with O'Callaghan Properties and the wider stakeholders to unlock the potential of this highly strategic asset to support the sustainable and progressive development of Cork City in line with the Government's National Development Plan 2040."
Councillor Des Cahill (FG) welcomed the announcement and said the site could potentially be used for a hospital and residential uses but cautioned that “necessary measures” will have to be taken - including VAT reductions for developers - to stimulate housing builds on the docklands.
Sources have told The Echo that what can be built on the site will be determined by Cork City Council’s New Local Area Plan (LAP) for the docklands to be published by the end of the year. The previous LAP provided for approximately three million square feet of residential, commercial and mixed-use development but no planning proposals have yet been formed.
Councillor Kieran McCarthy (IND) said he hopes the iconic redbrick Odlums building contained within the site can be turned into a cultural centre, while Mr Cahill believes the site could be a potential location for one of two new hospitals to be built in the city under the National Development Plan.
The site also contains the R&H Hall grain silos and other buildings of historical significance.
In a statement O'Callaghan Properties said: “[We are] delighted to be working with Origin Enterprises plc to unlock the potential of the largest development site to come on stream in the city centre. The development of this pivotal 31 acres site will be transformational for Cork Docklands and the city as a whole.
"The scale of residential, commercial, public space and amenity possible will introduce an exciting, new dynamic and help to accelerate development and inward investment generally. Taken in conjunction with other projects planned or underway, the development of this site will move the city significantly closer to realising the ambitious targets set out for Cork in the Government National Development Plan 2040.”