Lord Mayor: It's time to decide if the long-awaited events centre is going ahead

Lord Mayor: It's time to decide if the long-awaited events centre is going ahead
An artist's impression of the proposed events centre

LORD Mayor of Cork Mick Finn has said it is time for BAM and Live Nation to finally decide if the city's long-awaited events centre project is going ahead.

The Lord Mayor made the comments as negotiations continue on a €9m loan mechanism which is needed to increase State funding in the project from €20m to €30m.

The project was initially estimated to cost €50m before rising to €80m over the past four years.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that a loan must form part of the extra state funding that has been approved for the 6,000-seater, multi-purpose venue.

It was confirmed just before Christmas that the State was legally cleared to increase its investment from €20m to €30m but concerns were raised two weeks ago over the inclusion of a “repayable loan element”.

The council is seeking fresh legal advice on the department’s insistence that €9m of the €30m public monies has to be a repayable loan.

Construction work continues on student apartments at the former Beamish & Crawford Brewery, the site of the planned events centre project. 
Construction work continues on student apartments at the former Beamish & Crawford Brewery, the site of the planned events centre project. 

Mr Coveney said recently: “I’ve always said that I'm confident that this can be delivered, but I’ve also, particularly over the last 12 months or so, been quite open and honest about the complexity of the project. €9m has to be a loan that gets repaid. That’s part of the legal model that’s required to stay consistent with the tendering process that happened four years ago. But we can do it with that.

"Virtually every week we have a meeting in either Cork or Dublin on making progress on getting this event centre project fully across the line so people can physically see it built."

Lord Mayor Mick Finn said introducing the loan element into the equation following a back-and-forth process between the Attorney General and Department of Arts took "most of the players by surprise".

“While that is being clarified at present, in terms of repayment options and timelines, it is really time for BAM and Live Nation to decide if this is going ahead or not,” Mr Finn said.

Meanwhile, student accommodation, also earmarked for the former Beamish & Crawford site, is shooting up.

Sixty-seven student apartments in four blocks with ground floor retail and a cafe are being built on the site, with work ongoing.

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