CONFIRMATION has been given that the long-awaited Cork events centre will not begin construction until June at the earliest and could even take years to start.
City council chiefs confirmed that an agreement regarding additional funding for the €80m project on South Main St has still not been finalised, and construction will not begin under the current term of this council.
The developer, BAM, is seeking an additional €10m from the Government to fund the project which would bring total public funding to €30m.
However, it has not yet been agreed if the €10m will be a repayable loan, and the project has now been put on the back burner until after the local elections in May.
Outgoing City Hall director of strategic planning, Pat Ledwidge, said: “The project will not commence before the local elections on May 24, 2019.
“Cork City Council is taking advice on the terms under which additional public funding can be made available to the developers of the proposed event centre. The amount of additional funding has not yet been agreed. The circumstances under which any funding would be repayable have not yet been finalised,” he added.
Councillor Kieran McCarthy asked Mr Ledwidge if he had a timeline on when work would begin and if it could take a number of years.
Mr Ledwidge replied that he did not know.
“What we are trying to do is be definite under the circumstances of which the money can be provided. Then we need Government agreement.
“We hope to report back to council on this. We don’t have the clarity at the moment on the amounts of money or the timeline. We have got legal advice but I don’t know how long it will take,” he added.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney said last week that the Government is awaiting legal advice on whether the extra funding would compromise the terms and conditions of the tender award for the project to developers BAM.
Mr Coveney had previously told The Echo he expected machinery would be on site at the old Beamish and Crawford brewery to begin construction of the events centre on January.