DERELICTION and vacancy must be tackled by using every available space in the city, Cork Chamber has said.
It was reported by The Echo last month that the number of registered derelict sites in the city has exceeded 100 for the first time.
The number is up from 75 at the end of 2017.
Penalties for owners of derelict sites will increase from 3% to 7% of the property market value from 2020 putting added pressure on owners to develop or use their properties.
Research conducted by Cork City Council showed that there are some 260 buildings in Cork City with a total of 423 vacant or under-utilised upper floors.
The majority of these are located in the city centre, where 140 vacant upper floors were identified — this could potentially create up to 400 new homes.
Cork Chamber president Paula Cogan said that a change of mindset on how Cork buildings are used, particularly in the city centre, could see more properties used for commercial and residential purposes.
Ms Cogan said: “When you’re walking around the city, it’s not only the ground floors on properties that are vacant, it’s the top floors.
“Second and third-floor buildings have huge potential from a residential point of view.
“It’s about having a certain mindset.
“We need to view the city in a different way than we have done traditionally which has been that retail needs to be on the ground floor and second and third floors remain vacant.
“If you look at any other European city, that is not the case.
She added: “I believe from a Chamber perspective, we have commented on Cork City Council’s plans for that and I know there are plans afoot, but it needs to be actioned in a timely fashion.
“These plans need to be actioned now and not in a five to six-year period. It is an opportunity to view our city in a very different way than what we are currently,” she added.