Plans for a major redevelopment of Cork’s South Docks have been described as a “huge vote of confidence” in Cork which will represent the beginning of a new era for the city.
O’Callaghan Properties announced its plans to seek permission for a significant redevelopment of a 4.162 acres site running from Marina Walk onto the River Lee at Kennedy Quay, with a boundary marked by Victoria Road and Mill Road to the east.
Under the first phase of the plans, they hope to develop a new 130-bed rehabilitation hospital, an 11 storey residential building, and 450,000 sq. ft. of office and mixed use in three buildings ranging in height from 9 to 12 storeys.
Lord Mayor of Cork City, Colm Kelleher said the proposals represented “a huge vote of confidence in the city by a Cork based company.”
He said that together with the overall docklands regeneration project, that the development would put Cork up as a “modern outward-looking port within Europe.”
This was echoed by Cork Chamber with its President Paula Cogan saying the “ambitious” project “will be transformative, regenerating the previously industrial zone of the docklands to a district that will thrive in a new way, driving economic growth and enhancing the attractiveness of the city for people and investors alike.”
Also as part of the plans, the Odlums Mills buildings would be restored and repurposed to create two-seven and nine-storey buildings incorporating 84 apartments, a cinema, food hall, office space and a new 360-degree landmark rooftop destination in the city.
Approval is to be sought for the demolition of the R&H Silos on the site.
A subsequent phase of the development will see the company seek planning permission for in the region of 2,000 new homes in the area.
The plans were also welcomed by Minister for Public Expenditure and Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath who said that the proposed project represents a “further exciting phase” in the development of the docklands in Cork City.
“This regeneration strategy is strongly supported by the government through substantial funding being provided through the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund. It is part of an overall plan to breathe new life into this part of the city centre through appropriate mixed-use development. It will result in more people living and working in our city, and make Cork an even more exciting and attractive place to visit," he said.
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central said that at first glance the plans looked encouraging, but he said it is now important that the infrastructure needed for such a development would be put in place in good time.
He added: “The future of our city is in the north and south docks, and ensuring that that helps bring life and breathe life into the city centre. Overall, I think it's welcome but I think we need to make sure that this can happen and that it can happen in a way that ensures that there's affordable apartments and homes."
Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy said the area proposed for development had been derelict for some time and that the proposals are to be warmly welcomed.
He said he believed the redevelopment of the Odlum's Building could be “a very special part of this corner of South Docks”.
Cllr McCarthy however expressed his disappointment over plans to demolish the grain silos.
“I think part of them should be retained to add character to the development."