THE eight-acre Victoria Dockyard in Passage West which is up for sale needs to be purchased by the State or Cork County Council in order for a development that benefits the town centre to be built there, TDs have warned.
Once home to the Royal Victoria Dockyard where ships were built for over 100 years and where over 1,000 people were employed during WW1, it contains several hundred metres of road frontage, three access points and six terraced houses encompassed in a stone wall boundary.
Previous owners Howard Holdings had planned to build a hotel on the site after a €25m purchase in the early 2000s but then sold it to the Doyle shipping group for €2.75m. It has recently been utilised as a steel scrapyard and is being offered on the open market for around €3.5m.
The current occupier would have to move out once the sale is completed and the buyer would be free to use it as they see fit within planning regulations. The site has been on the open market since September of last year.
It is unlikely its current use will continue once it is sold.
Property agents Cushman & Wakefield said: “The property is zoned for mixed-use development to facilitate Town Centre expansion including residential and commercial uses. The [Local Area Plan] notes that any future development proposals at the site should incorporate pedestrian and cycle permeability along the waterfront."
South-central TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) said he will be writing to Cork County Council to ask them to purchase this site using funds from the European Investment Bank if required.
“Passage is a town with enormous potential, but it needs the right investment and development to allow that to happen,” he said.
“The site is of crucial importance because of its key strategic location in the town, and because of the sheer scale of the site. It's location between the main street and the water, means that a well-planned development could hugely benefit the town in terms of its appearance, and in terms of bringing commerce right back into the middle of the town,” he added.
Michael McGrath (FF) said: “I believe there is an outstanding opportunity for the State to purchase this site. I recognise the enormous potential this site has and what it could do for the future of Passage West if it was put to an appropriate use."