A CORK City councillor has said there is huge confidence that construction on the city’s long-awaited events centre will get under way in March or April.
Speaking to The Echo, Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill said over the last two months he has learnt from a number of sources, most of whom he said are not political but who are involved in the project, that construction looks set to commence in the spring.
“I believe, from information I have learnt from sources very close to decision-making, that it [construction] will actually start in March or April,” he said.
Mr Cahill said he is “extremely conscious” of frustration and disappointment over delays that have marred the project but is confident that construction will be underway in a matter of months.
“I’ve spoken to people, again who aren’t strictly political, but who are very much involved in it, and all roads lead to March/April,” he said.
The proposed events centre, which was first approved by planning 10 years ago, has met a number of snags over the past decade.
It looked as if the project had cleared its final hurdle last year following the withdrawal of a legal challenge and then the pandemic took hold.
Cork City Council has said on numerous occasions that it, alongside the two other key parties involved in the project, BAM and Live Nation, remain committed to delivering the 6,000-seat event centre on the site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery.
The delivery of the Cork event centre is also a key commitment under the National Development Plan (NDP) which says the centre will represent a “major contribution to urban regeneration, enhanced amenity and heritage, and increased quality of life for Cork” and will “also aid the wider economic potential and balanced regional development of the southern/midwestern region.”
In an update at a Cork City Council meeting in September, the council’s executive team indicated that some progress on the project had been made.
“As previously advised, all parties have continued to work together to progress this project, with the appropriate legal structures having being put in place by Live Nation/ BAM and there has been agreement in principle on all the substantive issues in the funding agreement,” City Hall said.
“All parties will enter into the agreement as the detailed design is completed and further certainty is achieved on the cost risks involved. This will also inform the construction programme.”
The statement said that Live Nation and BAM were “working to mobilise their design team so that it can be fully engaged once corporate approval is obtained by Live Nation in Ireland.”
Cork City Council, BAM and Live Nation as well as the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of the Taoiseach were approached for comment about when the construction work is likely to commence.