€1bn plan for Cork draws near

A huge €47m land deal paves the way for a near €1bn waterfront precinct on Cork’s south docks which could sustain thousands of residents and thousands of new jobs.

News of the largest ever single property deal in the city emerged yesterday just days before details are due to be released of an ambitious plan for a near 30-storey skyscraper on another key docklands site nearby.

Agri-services company Origin Enterprises confirmed yesterday it has reached a “conditional agreement” to sell 31 acres of land it owns on several sites in Cork’s south docks to O’Callaghan Properties.

The site contains waterfront real estate running east from the city, several landmark buildings including the R&H Hall grain silos and the historic red-brick Odlums building. It extends southwards to include the Gouldings fertiliser complex.

It is hoped a mixed-use project here, which property experts say could represent an investment of up to €1bn and take over a decade to deliver fully, will create a new city precinct, with thousands of new houses, offices, shops, cafes and restaurants capable of sustaining up to 15,000 jobs.

There is an estimated 4m sq ft of development potential on the site, with a requirement that 40% be set aside for residential.

It prompted calls from Fine Gael councillor Des Cahill last night for the Government to introduce measures to incentivise apartment construction.

The conditional agreement to sell the site was announced to the Irish Stock Exchange yesterday.

Origin said the estimated gain on disposal of the site is around €3.5m assuming the full disposal proceeds are realised.

The deal is subject to a number of conditions including the granting of various permissions and approvals and the relocation of Origin’s existing operating business in the docklands to an alternative location downstream, possibly Marino Point.

Chief executive Tom O’Mahony said: “We look forward to actively working with O’Callaghan Properties and the wider stakeholders to unlock the potential of this highly strategic asset to support the sustainable and progressive development of Cork City in line with the Government’s National Development Plan 2040.”

O’Callaghan Properties is currently developing its huge Navigation Square office development on an adjoining docklands site.

The firm said it is delighted to be working with Origin to unlock the potential of what is the largest development site to come on stream in the city centre.

“The development of this pivotal 31-acre site will be transformational for Cork docklands and the city as a whole,” it said.

“The scale of residential, commercial, public space and amenity possible will introduce an exciting, new dynamic and help to accelerate development and inward investment generally.

Taken in conjunction with other projects planned or underway, the development of this site will move the city significantly closer to realising the ambitious targets set out for Cork in the Government National Development Plan 2040.

Cork City Council is drafting a local area plan for the south docks to act as a development blueprint. It should be published before the end of the year.

O’Callaghan Properties’s managing director Brian O’Callaghan says his company’s plans for the site will be guided by the local area plans.

“We recognise and value the history, heritage and character of the entire site and of the buildings on it and actually see that as a unique selling point,” he said.

“We would hope to retain that in whatever plans we bring forward.”

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