Progress on plan for 40-storey port build: Planning for Custom House site project to be sought early next year

The developers of a proposed 40-storey building on the Custom House site in Cork City have said they expect to apply for planning permission for the development in early 2018.

A spokesman for Time Square Construction Operations, which is owned by Kerry native Kevin O’Sullivan, said the company is now at an advanced design stage.

In April it emerged that Mr O’Sullivan had bought the site in the Port of Cork, reportedly for a figure in the region of €5m, and it had been expected that it could house a landmark development, including a signature tower up to twice the height of the 17-storey Elysian.

“We are now at the stage of finalising the design, ensuring that every aspect of the development will meet all local and national regulations and requirements,” said Mr O’Sullivan, who is now based in the US.

“We have been heartened by the level of support we have received locally and we look forward to making this truly landmark project a real gamechanger for Cork.”

The Cork development will not be impacted by a €76m court order which has been made in New York against Mr O’Sullivan’s brother Donal’s company, Navillus, over the failure to pay workers union wages and benefit payments.

Kevin O’Sullivan was originally involved in Navillus, but ended his involvement. Donal O’Sullivan is understood to have put money into the Port of Cork site purchase but only as a passive investor.

Navillus was found by a New York court to have created an “alter ego” company to avoid collective agreements it had made with construction unions there.

Over the last 30 years, Navillus has created a huge name for itself in New York, building some of the city’s iconic skyscrapers and sections of the Ground Zero towers.

It sought a stay of execution of the judgment pending an appeal, saying it could render it insolvent and would likely drive it into bankruptcy.

That motion was denied by Judge Colleen McMahon who, in her original judgment, had found that Donal O’Sullivan had perjured himself.

A spokesman for Navillus said it is very disappointed by the court’s verdict, “a decision that is inconsistent with long-standing legal principles applicable to alleged alter ego cases such as this”.

He said a temporary stay on the judgment has been granted and it has started an appeal process.

“The court admitted that it had no prior case to point to like this one — where there was zero evidence that a union company took steps to steer jobs non-union — yet found alter ego liability,” said spokesman.

“Despite having no support, the court created what it called ‘new law’. Thankfully we have an appellate court that will apply the actual law and reverse this mistake and vindicate our company.”

Sources have said Time Square Construction Operations has always paid union rates in the US and is expected to do so here.


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