Cork's new €90m office development could break ground in a matter of months

Planning approval for a €90 million office scheme, capable of hosting 3,000 jobs, has been granted by Cork City Council for a significant urban site — the next springboard move into docklands renewal in the city.

The development, titled Navigation Square, will span 310,000 sq ft, making it the single biggest city centre office development.

Developer Owen O’Callaghan has been granted permission by the local authority for an amended plan spanning four new buildings for his site at Navigation House, on Albert Quay, and bounded by the quay and the river Lee to the north and by Victoria Road and Albert Quay and Albert Street, about 250 metres from City Hall.

The initial application, made in February 2016, was for 360,000 sq ft. If the approval signalled for a marginally smaller scheme isn’t referred to An Bord Pleanála by any third party, work would start in early 2017 and continue into 2018, and 350 construction jobs would flow, said Mr O’Callaghan.

He described his proposal as an “ambitious, large-scale project that spoke volumes of the belief in the future of Cork City”.

Welcoming the city council’s green light in recent days for Navigation Square, Mr O’Callaghan described it as “a very significant project that makes Cork city much more attractive for foreign direct and indigenous investment projects.”

The developer has a track record over five decades and has Apple as a major tenant at Half Moon Street by his Opera Lane shopping precinct.

He also has full planning for a separate 150,000 sq ft office and ground floor retail scheme on a site he owns at Andersons Quay, giving him scope to develop 460,000 sq ft in all. He confirmed they would be “developed partly in parallel”.

Close to all transport hubs, including bus, rail and park and ride, and a short walk to the city centre, Navigation Square’s site spans 2.25 acres.

It had earlier been ear-marked by O’Callaghan Properties for an events centre, but that lost out to a rival bid by BAM/Heineken, for the old Beamish and Crawford site.

An ‘ambitious, large-scale project that spoke volumes of the belief in the future of Cork City’.

The location for the €90 million O’Callaghan Properties scheme of office buildings is just 150 metres downriver from the completed and fully occupied One Albert Quay €58m building, which has 170,000 sq ft of office over seven floors. Also in the same, evolving vicinity and built pre-crash are City Quarter, with hotel and 100,000 sq ft of offices, and the 17-storey Elysian tower.

In terms of size/scale, and as the city’s largest proposed FDI office development, Navigation Square’s 310,000 sq ft ranks in between the two John Cleary Developments (JCD) Mahon developments of City Gate, at 380,000 sq ft, and City Gate Park’s 308,000 sq ft, home to Dell/EMC, among other tenants.

Design of the four-block quayside project is by Henry J Lyons architects, who also designed One Albert Quay and City Gate and Plaza in Mahon for JCD, as well as a number of projects for Owen O’Callaghan.

As Irish developers now seek to have offices built and ready for inward, mobile FDI investment, further office schemes are in the pipeline. Projects have been proposed in Cork at the Grand Parade, at Horgans Quay, Andersons Quay and at Mahon, where a further 280,000 sq ft is approved for construction at City Gate Plaza.

An ‘ambitious, large-scale project that spoke volumes of the belief in the future of Cork City’.

O’Callaghan Properties say their four Albert Quay buildings, with roof terraces, two restaurants and 100,000 sq ft of double-basement car and bike parking, are designed to ‘Gold LEED’ energy efficiency standards, with floors flexibly configured for general office accommodation as well as space for other business and technology uses.

“The buildings and river-side location will certainly appeal to the young employee demographic characteristic of enterprises in the new economy,” said OCP MD Owen O’Callaghan. “The area has many links with Cork’s maritime trading history and hopefully this project will help to write a new chapter for business in the city and generate high value jobs for Cork. ”


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