AMBITIOUS plans to revitalise the city docklands are 'an expression of confidence' in Cork and its workforce, according to city chief Ann Doherty.
Ms Doherty said the 'time is right' to deliver on a range of housing, office and hotel developments throughout the city, with a range of high profile projects already underway.
Some, including the Capitol, Páirc Uí Chaoimh and One Albert Quay, are already completed and operational, with several other major builds not far behind.
These include the new courthouse on Anglesea St, which is due to open in the Spring, while tower cranes can be spotted over the South Mall working on a major office development at number 85 and putting the finishing touches on a new hotel fronting Parnell Place.
Further down the quays, the major development at Navigation Square is gathering pace. The first block of 150,000 sq ft is due for fit-out works in November, while a second block of 100,000 sq ft is due to commence construction in a matter of weeks.
In addition, Cork City Council is putting the finishing touches on the local area plans for the north and south docklands, which could be set to incorporate 10,000 homes and 30,000 jobs on a 220-hectare brownfield site that includes 4km of waterfront land and will essentially double the footprint of the city centre.
"We have an asset that most cities in Europe would be very keen to get their hands on," Ms Doherty said, referring to the docklands.
"It is a fantastic opportunity and there is already a lot of interest in the whole docklands development."
This also includes plans for Horgan's Quay, including retail and hotels, and the Port of Cork site on Custom House Quay, both of which are expected to move forward later this year.
"It is exciting for everyone who lives and works in the city," Ms Doherty said.
"It is an expression of confidence in what we do in terms of retail, hospitality and, of course, the workforce.
"Developers wouldn't be building these buildings if they didn't have tenants for them and tenants wouldn't be coming here if they didn't see this city as somewhere with a fantastic talent pool, which is linked to our universities. It is an eco-system - the different components need to come together to yield the best result."
Ms Doherty was keen to stress that the developments are not all about industry, though. In addition to plans to add large amounts of housing to the area, there are discussions about transport - including rapid bus and, potentially, light rail - and living conditions.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh was an important step in the development but the city has already commenced work on the next step: Marina Park. The green space will run the length of the waterfront and will be the biggest public park developed in Cork city centre since Fitzgerald's Park.
"I think the timing is right," Ms Doherty said.
"There is a lot of discussion about what is going on in the area and, over the next couple of months, we will stage a number of public conversations - the Cork conversations - which will start the discussion about what the Cork of the future will look like, what it should have and what it should do.
"Planning the city of the future is difficult. It is hard to imagine today what people will want in 20, 30 or 40 years time," she added.