Historic Odlums Mills part of significant development plan for Cork docklands

Historic Odlums Mills part of significant development plan for Cork docklands

A frontal view of the re-purposed Odlums building on Kennedy Quay.

Cork’s Odlums Mills building has lain idle for over a decade, but under new plans, it could be restored and repurposed.

O’Callaghan Properties is to seek permission to strip back the existing structure of the well-known building as part of plans for a significant development at the South Docks.

Odlums closed their doors at the docklands building in 2009 - the building itself dates back to 1933.

As part of the plans for the South Docks, due to be submitted within weeks, O’Callaghan Properties intends to create two seven and nine-storey buildings on the site 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.

A spokesperson for the company said that while the original Odlums building is not a simple structure it does, once stripped back and isolated, “present a building volume that is open to re-use and extension with little or no impact on the quality of the original structure.”

The spokesperson explained that under the plans it is proposed to retain all of the significant historic fabric to the front, rear and side facades of the original building along with the upper floor extension.

Many of the structural elements of the interior are also to be retained and restored.

However, it is intended to remove the later construction to the south and the extension to the original western gable to reveal the original historic building gable.

The spokesperson said that significant features and fabric of architectural and/ or industrial heritage historic interest from areas of the building are proposed to be carefully removed and salvaged.

 A view of the former Odlums building and R & H Hall building on Kennedy Quay, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
A view of the former Odlums building and R & H Hall building on Kennedy Quay, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“It is intended to re-use and feature some equipment internally and externally where feasible,” they added.

Further plans

The repurposing of the Odlums Building is just one aspect of a significant plan by O’Callaghan Properties to redevelop the South Docks area.

The company is to also seek permission for the development of a new hospital, a major mixed use development, and new housing as part of its plans for the area.

The development area also encompasses the R&H Hall silos, but while O’Callaghan Properties plans to repurpose the Odlums Building it says that it is not possible to repurpose the silo buildings due to “major structural issues”.

It will be seeking permission to demolish the silos.

A spokesperson said that the design and layout of the buildings mean that the buildings were never developed in a way that contemplated any other future use and that the existing structural concrete cannot be relied upon to achieve a sound new structure or built fabric.

“All of the engineering and technical reports relating to the silos buildings are being provided to Cork City Council and will become part of the public record through the planning application process,” the spokesperson said.

The company plans to make some of the silo features more accessible through re-instating existing grain hoppers in Block C3 (a new silo building) and featuring a visible recreation of the silo structure to accommodate the new array of glass fronted lifts.

There will be a vertical emphasis on the external façade of the building to signify the cross-wall construction of the existing silo facade, with ‘O’ shaped port holes on the top floor to mirror the current features at high level in the existing silo.

The large lettering on the North façade, which currently reads as R&H Hall, will be reflected in the new building signage.

It is also planned to dismantle and preserve one of the uncommon and industrial archaeologically significant grain drying and conditioning machines.

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