Green light for 'landmark development' in Cork city centre

Green light for 'landmark development' in Cork city centre

Tower Holdings Group has welcomed the decision of An Bord Pleanála to uphold planning permission for the proposed mixed use development at the old Port of Cork site on Custom House Quay.

Tower Holdings Group has welcomed the decision of An Bord Pleanála to uphold planning permission for the proposed mixed-use development at the old Port of Cork site on Custom House Quay.

The scheme includes plans for a five-star hotel, new food and beverage outlets and a new maritime culture and heritage offering.

Cork City Council had granted conditional planning permission for the development back in October, but this was appealed by the Irish Georgian Society, by An Taisce Corcaigh, and by Cobh resident John Adams.

However, in supporting Cork City Council's decision, An Bord Pleanála stated that subject to compliance with the conditions set out by the council, the proposed development would "assist in the redevelopment and rejuvenation" of the city centre and would be "in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".

An Bord Pleanála also stated that the proposed development would "make a positive contribution to the urban character of the area" and that it would "enhance the skyline of the City Harbour Interchange Area of the city centre".

Kevin O’Sullivan, CEO of Tower Holdings Group said they are delighted with the decision from An Bord Pleanála to uphold the previous permission from Cork City Council. 

"We assembled one of the best design teams in the world, all of whom worked tirelessly to get this scheme right and I would like to sincerely thank them for all their efforts. 

"The mixed use and cultural aspect of the scheme was extremely important to us and the city council alike, ensuring extensive public realm space and a maritime visitor attraction. 

"Another key aspect in making the scheme a commercial success is the continuation of maritime activities on the river, ensuring the quays and jetties remain fully accessible and utilised by passenger cruise vessels, water-based transport/tourism and leisure craft to access the site and the city centre by river," he said.

"I believe this project will add great value to the city and boost the docklands regeneration. 

"I have always believed in a strong future for Cork and we are proud to be part of this future as the world recovers from the pandemic," he continued. 

Marco Gamini, Lead Architect for the project for Gensler said the project will act as a catalyst for further regeneration of the docklands district. 

"Gensler and the wider project design team are delighted by An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant planning permission for the Custom House Quay scheme. 

"The restoration and transformation of this magnificent site at the heart of the city’s future will be a catalyst for further regeneration of the docklands district. 

"The slender sculpted tower will form a contemporary new piece to complement the much loved historic composition, bringing new purpose and dynamism to the River Lee, as well as provide the city with a beacon to the future.

"We look forward to delivering this tremendous project in collaboration with the whole team."

Conor Lee, Director of Operations for Tower Holdings in Ireland, said a start date for the project has yet to be determined. 

"We fully engaged with the planning authorities along every step of the way in this lengthy process to ensure the preservation of existing structures, respecting the heritage and maritime history of the site while sensitively blending the old with the new. 

"The scheme is in line with the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework which includes a specific focus on the regeneration of Cork’s brownfield docklands area. 

"We have yet to fully examine all the planning conditions and certain points of detail to establish their effect on the scheme before commencing future engagement with potential occupiers, which in turn will dictate a start date for the project," he said. 

Commenting on the news that the development has been given the green light, Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber said the decision is "a positive move for the city". 

"The plans for multi-purpose use of the site will harness this prime location, overlooking the river and standing proudly at the head of the city’s island are a statement of how our city can celebrate its heritage while delivering spaces designed for a modern progressive city. 

"The redevelopment of the bonded warehouses will open to the public for the first time, allowing access to this beautiful and historic building," he said.

The news of An Bord Pleanála's decision follows last week’s Government announcement of extensive infrastructure funding for Cork, including a heavy concentration of a €353m allocation for public infrastructure works to enable regeneration and development of the docklands area.

"The approval of this planning for the Custom House site, coupled with last week’s Urban Regeneration Development Funding announcement for the Docklands show truly inspired ambition for our city region which will enhance Cork’s reputation," Mr Healy said. 

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