The university city of Cork, located just inland from Ireland’s southwest coast, looks set to become home to a major £141m (€160m) redevelopment project as property group HQ Developments Limited (a joint venture between the Clarendon Group and BAM Ireland) recently submitted a bid to transform a six-acre site at Horgan’s Quay in an extensive project which includes the creation of three multi-storey office blocks complete with a new hotel and 237 apartments.

An artist's impression of the proposed development   - Img: Irish Examiner
The site’s location just a few minutes travel away from the city centre, along with its placement adjacent to Cork's Kent railway station, is sure to increase interest in the project due to the abundance of transport links and close proximity to any city-based clients. It was likely these characteristics which inspired the major redevelopment proposal which focused upon the site back in the 1990s, though this project failed to come to fruition as a result of political rows.

The project, if approved, is hoped to assist in substantially expanding commercial interest in Cork’s quays and docklands, all while pushing the total figure for commercial, retail, residential and leisure projects either underway or proposed for Cork to nearly €1bn.

The project will see around 450 workers employed in the construction of eight new buildings at the waterfront site, as well as the restoration of several existing buildings and the creation of a brand new and significant public space. Three office blocks comprise the primary project, each reaching six-to-eight storeys high and providing a total of 37,000m2 of workable office space for up to 5,000 employees.

Tony Leonard, Managing Director of Clarendon, said of the proposed development, “The Horgan’s Quay redevelopment is an ambitious and most exciting scheme. What was previously unused industrial land will be transformed into a new Urban Quarter. The Horgan’s Quay scheme is key to unlocking the future development of the Cork City Docks. This development presents Cork with an excellent opportunity to provide centrally located Grade A Offices, Residential and Hotel accommodation together with ancillary retail and restaurants facilities in the heart of the city. As the provision of high quality residential accommodation is a major factor in attracting new office tenants to the City, preference will be given to these tenants for the private rental accommodation in the development.”

Conor Healy, Chief Executive of Cork Chamber, also commented, “New mixed use developments of this nature in the heart of Cork City will enhance Cork’s growing reputation as a rapidly developing, forward looking city region with unlimited capacity and potential. Cork is experiencing significant interest from both FDI and indigenous markets in exciting new urban based office developments which will create high quality sustainable jobs and we need to capitalise on that opportunity. With those new jobs comes a demand for good quality city centre residential accommodation particularly focussed on the rental market where there is currently a shortfall of supply needing to be addressed. Also, in recent years due to growth in both the business and leisure markets visitor numbers are growing considerably with widespread recognition of the need for additional hotel rooms and supporting retail and hospitality offerings.”

Plans were lodged with Cork City Council regarding the development last month. If planning permission is subsequently granted for the project, it is hoped that work on the site will begin in early 2018.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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