Cork businessman buys house to provide accommodation for staff due to shortage in city centre

He said that the demand for accommodation in the city centre must be met to ensure “a viable city” for those employed in the city centre
Cork businessman buys house to provide accommodation for staff due to shortage in city centre

Close-up of real estate agent giving house key to a couple. Rent, generic, stock

A CORK businessman is renting properties and has also purchased a house in order to provide homes for staff amid an accommodation crisis in Cork

Kevin Herlihy, president of the Cork Business Association (CBA), who also runs a number of Centra stores in Cork, has now called for at least one bed space to be constructed per office desk in the city centre.

He said that the demand for accommodation in the city centre must be met to ensure “a viable city” for those employed in the city centre.

Speaking to The Echo, Mr Herlihy said that he currently houses 30 of his 300 employees, a move he said he had to make because he could not get staff.

“The majority of the houses are rented and we also bought one house as well, an eight-bedroom house to put staff into so this is the way it’s going.

“There are lots of others in the hospitality business and retail business that are doing the exact same,” he said.

“You’ve got hotels who are using 10% of their hotel stock to house staff and then that in turn led us onto starting a project last year whereby we started renting houses and we started bringing staff in from abroad because we literally could not get staff.

“We started bringing them in from abroad through a recruitment agency in Croatia but they’re coming from all over Europe, from Spain, Greece, Romania, Macedonia, some Croatians as well, and we now have 30 staff housed out of our 300 staff.

Mr Herlihy recently spoke of his concerns at the CBA’s Better Buildings Awards in partnership with Cork City Council, Clarendon Properties and The Echo.

The Awards focus on the care and presentation of the city’s built heritage as well as the integration and enhancement of the new developments within the city.

“In order for a city to work correctly and cohesively, you need to have three ingredients. You need to have employment, you need to have people who are living there, and you need to have transport.

“This is where Cork is lacking. We have the employment. The Queen’s Old Castle is going to be redeveloped now next year with 800 jobs going in down there. There are lots of jobs going in down the Docklands, there are loads already and there’s lots more to come.

Kevin Herlihy of Herlihy Centra Group and president of the Cork Business Assocation.
Kevin Herlihy of Herlihy Centra Group and president of the Cork Business Assocation.

“So, there’s a huge amount of development that’s going to happen within the island of the city which is fantastic but the houses are not being built and the apartments are not being built at the same rate so this is a big worry that if someone gets a job in a company in the city centre and then all of a sudden they’re saying I’m going to have to live in Carrigaline or in Ballincollig and I don’t really want to do that."

15-MINUTE CITY

Mr Herlihy said that the 15-minute city concept in Cork “is just not happening at a fast enough pace”.

The 15-minute city is an urban planning concept based on the idea that people should be able to access essential daily amenities within a short walk or bike ride from their homes.

“This whole 15-minute model that has been devised that everybody can live, work and carry out most of their business within a 15-minute walk of the city centre is just not happening at a fast enough pace that we would like it to happen.

“It’s not that developers don’t know it, there are obviously issues with costs and so on at the moment and we just really need to try to push this out faster and get more cranes on the skylines, not just building desks but building more apartments.

“For every desk in an office granted in the city, we should have at least one bed space under construction to ensure that a viable city is viable in the future,” he said.

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