Dutch courage: Plans for €150m Brewery Quarter

A €150-million Brewery Quarter tourism and cultural investment is planned for the heart of Cork city, on the four-acre site vacated in 2009 by the historic firm Beamish and Crawford.

Planning permission is being lodged today with Cork City Council for the sensitive medieval city site, to allow for a 6,000 seat event centre, a “brewing experience” visitor centre, student accommodation, a viewing tower, cinemas, shops, restaurants and bars, plus some offices.

Cultural and tourism uses are being trumpeted in the proposal by joint developers, the site’s owners since 2008, Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors — both, incidentally, multinational firms with Dutch parentage.

Heineken, owners of the Murphys brewing site in Cork, acquired the Beamish and Crawford site in early 2008 after a £7.9 billion (€9.3bn) takeover of parent company Scottish and Newcastle. It employs 600 in Ireland, across its subsidiaries.

A spokesperson for Heineken Ireland said they were committed as joint developers to the project, which could be delivered in four years’ time, and put the investment value at more than €150 million.

According to BAM Contractors director Tom Gavin, the fact they had developed the plan with specific end users in mind made it very fundable.

BAM’s recent Cork projects include work on Cork Airport, Marymount Hospice, the County Hall extension, and the Kinsale Road interchange.

The plan envisages development in three blocks, plus two new linking pedestrian bridges, and retaining 40% of the site as public open space.

It includes retention of the mock-Tudor/Germanic facade of the old counting house, as well as artefacts like the brewing vessels and displays of original brewery drawings.

If approved, the project could bring 250 to 300 construction jobs during the build period.

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