A LEADING businessman has predicted that the city’s boundary extension will attract more top brands and international businesses to Leeside.
Ernest Cantillon, who owns Electric bar and restaurant, Sober Lane and who is director of Kinsale Gin, said the increased population will leapfrog Cork up the list of potential investment locations for large multi-national chains, expanding retailers and brand name businesses.
The city’s boundary will change in May, bringing Ballincollig, Glanmire, Douglas and Blarney into the city jurisdiction.
The population of the city will grow overnight from 125,000 to 210,000 people, in what is the largest ever change introduced in Cork’s boundary.
The historic expansion of the city will have huge benefits for those trying to “sell Cork” to potential investors.
Mr Cantillon said: “When businesses and brands are looking to move to a city, they look at the population. The Apple Store is a good example, we don’t even have one in Dublin, because we don’t meet the population requirements.
“When a brand is looking at opening new stores, they might look at the 25 biggest cities in Europe and Cork is way down the list, because while we know there are almost half a million people in the greater Cork area, they just see a list saying ‘Cork 125,000’.
“Suddenly that number is going to almost double, so you are going to leapfrog up the list.
“While nothing will actually physically change, from the outside looking in, brands will be more inclined to come here and businesses more inclined to relocate.”
Mr Cantillon also said that the additional population would act as leverage for politicians fighting for Cork development.
“I presume, when politicians are up negotiating budgets, you are negotiating for 210,000 people rather than 125,000.
“So if you think there is going to be more jobs, more public expenditure, surely there is going to be a knock-on effect.”
The Cork businessman said he thought the boundary extension would lead to more joined-up thinking in terms of public transport.
“Instead of trying to deal with the city and county council, the city council will have better coverage and more joined-up thinking and more leverage there.
“I would be relatively optimistic about the next few years. Change is good.”