Plans are in the pipeline to develop a new hospital, a major mixed-use development, apartments, a new public realm and a landmark rooftop destination at Cork city’s South Docks.
O’Callaghan Properties is poised to lodge two separate planning applications in the coming weeks for the development of what it is describing as a “vibrant, dynamic mixed-use neighbourhood” on a 4.162 acres site running from Marina Walk onto the River Lee at Kennedy Quay and a boundary marked by Victoria Road and Mill Road to the east.
Plans for the first phase of the development will be lodged shortly while plans for a second phase of the project are expected to be submitted in the new year.
The project will comprise a circa 1 million square foot development including a 122,000 sq. ft. 130-bed rehabilitation hospital- the first of its kind in Ireland outside of Dublin.
Under phase one of the project, the derelict Odlums Mills will be restored and repurposed to create two-seven and nine-storey buildings incorporating 84 one, two and three-bed apartments, a cinema, food hall, office space and a new 360-degree landmark rooftop destination in the city.
Also included in the plans for the South Docks is the development of an 80,000 sq. ft. 11 storey building with 80 “build to sell” apartments in addition to 450,000 sq. ft. of office and mixed-use space in three buildings ranging in height from nine to 12 storeys.
A new waterfront public realm and amenity space is also included.
As part of its plans for the South Docks, O’Callaghan Properties will also seek approval to demolish the R & H Hall silos which it says have “major structural issues” which “make a viable re-purposing of the silo buildings impossible to achieve”.
O’Callaghan Properties say that the development of this phase of the project has the potential to create in the region of 5,000 new jobs when fully developed.
A spokesperson said that the proposed project represents “a significant milestone in Cork city’s development” that would connect the city centre to South Docks.
“The proposed new bridge link, the LRT connection to Kent Station and the backdrop of a new waterfront will have a profound effect on footfall in the area and revitalise the south docks and environs. The promenade at Kennedy Quay has the potential to become one of the city’s primary pedestrian routes and an attraction in its own right,” the spokesperson said.
Phase two of the project will see O’Callaghan Properties submit a separate planning application for, in the region of, 2,000 housing units at the South Docks. It is expected that this application will be made in early 2022.
Brian O’Callaghan, managing director of O’Callaghan Properties, said the South Docks project would provide “compelling new options for FDI and indigenous investment” and that the location is also capable of “making serious inroads into residential shortages in the city”.
“Cork city’s population is projected to increase by 50% by 2040. Docklands will drive rapid economic development for Cork and already has shown itself capable of hosting large scale multinational and indigenous investment projects. It is largely underutilised and presents a wonderful opportunity for the city to expand eastwards,” he said.
Mr O’Callaghan noted that the docklands is a major focus of Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan and is a key element of the current and proposed City Development Plan and said that the recent commitment of €350 million in URDF funding for the docklands “was a tangible expression of Government support for what is happening and what is possible.”
“South Docks has played a key role in the social and working life of the city and has constantly evolved and changed. The area has moved from industrial use to the ‘new economy’ and our project not only facilitates that journey but creates a new focal point for the city, a new, sustainable amenity of scale.
"This project provides compelling new options for FDI and indigenous investment and makes a very clear statement about the city and the business opportunities in optimal locations outside of Dublin, in the post-Covid and post Brexit period.
“The South Docks location is also capable of making serious inroads into residential shortages in the city and we hope to provide over 2,000 homes on this site. We intend to submit a further planning application for these in the new year,” Mr O’ Callaghan added.
The project has been designed by architectural practice Henry J Lyons who previously worked on the Central Bank of Ireland and the Criminal Courts of Justice buildings in Dublin as well as Navigation Square and Lancaster Quay in Cork.
Landscape master planning for the site has been undertaken by UK company, Exterior Architecture UK (ExA) who previously worked on projects including the Battersea Power Station, Chatham Waterfront, Roturua Cultural Masterplan, New Zealand, amongst many others.
It is currently working on pre-feasibility on the Skycycle project in London which aims to provide 220km of 20-metre-wide cycle and pedestrian infrastructure to be built over the existing Network rail line.
O’Callaghan Properties say that the project is also informed by the challenges arising from climate change, and will promote sustainable values in the lives of those who will reside there and interact with it in other ways.