A sex shop and two protected former warehouses in Cork city are to be redeveloped as a boutique hotel and hostel following a council vote this evening which is expected the net the city a €1m profit, writes Eoin English.
City councillors voted 21-4 earlier in favour of selling 1-2 Deane Street, close to the bus station, and nearby 7-9 Parnell Place, to Tetrarch Capital Ltd - one of the country’s largest independent hospitality companies.
Highlighted is Nos 7,8 & 9 Parnell place
The firm has around 1,800 bedrooms across hotels, resorts and hostels including The Marker, Powerscourt Hotel, Mount Juliet, Citywest Hotel and The Dawson Hotel Dublin.
The properties at Deane St have been leased in recent years and have been operating as the Utopia adult shop.
The former warehouse buildings on Parnell Place are protected structures dating from the mid-1800s. They housed Mahers Sports and Flor Griffin’s Electrical in recent years.
Cork City Council bought the Parnell Place properties in a strategic move across 2015 and 2016 from two firms which were in receivership, and bought the Deane St properties from an individual seller.
The purchases were part of a strategic move to promote economic development in the city centre and to facilitate the renewal of strategic city centre listed buildings that were in a derelict and dilapidated condition.
While the former warehouse properties were originally earmarked by the council for potential tech or start-up use, it is understood that officials deemed that was no longer required following the launch of Republic of Work on nearby South Mall.
Expressions of interest for the combined group of properties were invited and estate agents, Lisney, received six proposals by March.
They were reviewed by an independent assessment board and five parties were asked to re-submit a more detailed proposal and financial offer.
These short-listed proposals were then reviewed and assessed by another board, which recommended to senior city management the acceptance of the Tetrarch proposal.
The company plans to redevelop the properties as a budget boutique hotel and a separate designer hostel with ground floor restaurants and bars.
The recommendation came before councillors this evening, who following a short debate, sanctioned the sale of the properties to Tetrarch.
Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald, said the council’s purchase and sale of the sites has maximised the benefit to the city of the properties.
"Their architectural heritage will be protected and their new usage will bring about employment and add further to the city’s growing tourist offering in the city centre," he said.
UCC has plans to develop a new business school at the nearby former Cork Saving Bank building on Lapp’s Quay.
The Dalata hotel group plans to develop a hotel on the opposite side of Parnell Place, and planning has been lodged for a major expansion of the Metropole Hotel across the northern channel of the river Lee.
And O’Callaghan Properties’ has embarked on its €90m Navigation House project on Albert Quay, just across the southern channel of the river Lee.
The city council has also invested €2m improving public space around Parnell Place in recent months.