PERMANENT homes must be built on the former Port of Cork site to address the housing crisis facing the city, a councillor has warned.
Tower Holdings revealed plans for a 34-storey skyscraper hotel at Custom House Quay last week. The €140m project will also include retail units, cultural spaces, food and beverage businesses, office space, recreational areas and a micro- distillery, which the developer says could create up to 800 jobs.
A planning application for the development is not expected to be lodged until later this month.
However, Councillor Des Cahill (FG) said he is concerned that there are no plans for apartments within the project, with Cork city’s population set to more than double in the next 20 years and an accommodation shortage already putting the rental and property markets under severe pressure.
He welcomed the development but believes the site needs a housing element.
“I am very much in favour of the general development of the Docklands and the city centre. However, I feel that this site is a strategic site in creating a living city. There are no permanent residential apartments in this scheme and as a local representative observing a housing emergency I feel that it is very necessary for me to speak out on this.
“I cannot see any reason why a quarter of this development cannot be permanent residential apartments for people that are working in the city,” Mr Cahill added.
The developers held a public viewing of the plans for the site — which include the bonded Custom House warehouses — on Saturday that was attended by Cobh-based artist John Adams.
Mr Adams has led a campaign against a skyscraper on the site and set up a petition which has more than 1,700 signatures. He has described the latest plans as “dreadfully ugly” and has vowed to object once planning is submitted to Cork City Council.
Tower Holdings have stressed that they will maintain the heritage of the site and plan to build a cultural centre.
Mr Cahill said more details on what this will entail are needed.
“...the cultural centre mentioned for the site, this seems a very vague plan which I would like the developer to clarify. [It] requires a concrete plan rather than a box-ticking exercise for the planning process. There are bars and a distillery included on this site too.”
Councillor and historian Kieran McCarthy said the development is “very welcome” and will secure the future conservation and use of the 1890s Port of Cork building and early 19th century bonded warehouses. However, he added he would like to see the skyscraper “reflect some of the surrounding maritime history”.
Tower Holdings say their plans will help make the docklands an “integral part” of the city centre and plan a large public realm element which will open the waterfront site up to the public for the first time in its history.