City Hall urged to act on Odlums building

City Hall urged to act on Odlums building
The former Odlums building on Kennedy Quay. Pic: Eddie O'Hare

CITY Hall is being urged to take action on the historic Odlums building in the docklands amid fears that it could follow iconic structures like Vernon Mount or St Kevin's in becoming a magnet for vandalism.

The listed red brick structure is currently in private ownership but is viewed as a crucial component in the regeneration of the city's docks.

Elected members of Cork City Council have raised concern that the structure has remained idle for so long. In recent weeks, a car was burnt out in front of the six-storey building, with initial reports suggesting that the building itself was on fire.

It is just seven months since the former St Kevin's building in Sunday's Well was almost entirely destroyed in a blaze.

Origin Enterprises, the owners of the building, have demolished a number of silos and ancillary buildings adjacent to the main mill and warehouse complex. However, there has been no discussion with Cork City Council about the future of the site since 2014.

Senior staff at City Hall confirmed that the site is viewed as an important element of the upcoming revamping of the docks. A draft local area plan for the area is expected to be finalised and presented to council by mid-summer, with the Odlums building potentially comprising part of this.

Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy is keen to see the building returned to use.

He said, "I thought we lost it when that car fire was reported. Kudos to the developer for keeping it intact and for seeing that there is potential for it, but we haven't heard what that is yet.

"I am delighted to hear management say they are interested in its use in the docks regeneration but they need to engage with the developers sooner rather than later to do something about that or it could go the same way as St Kevin's or Vernon Mount."

Mr McCarthy called for similar urgency when it comes to the bonded warehouses at Custom House Quay, suggesting that the structures could all be incorporated into a celebration of Cork's maritime history, potentially via the development of a museum in the area.

"A lot of the history of this city isn't being told," he said.

"And while it is currently a working dock, that won't be the case for much longer. This building is an endangered species in Cork; it would be great to see some use for it."

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