BAM seeks €12m extra State funding for Cork events centre

BAM, the developer planning to build an events centre in Cork, is poised to ask the Government for at least another €12m in State funding to deliver the 6,000-seat venue, writes Eoin English in the Irish Examiner

The building costs have soared from €53m to €65m, it emerged last night, following a protracted internal redesign process which has seen the venue’s footprint increase from just over 10,000 sq m to 13,500 sq m.

BAM said it will be asking the Government to increase its investment in the project from €20m — sanctioned two years ago — to €32m.

If the extra funding is sanctioned soon, construction could start by September, said company boss Theo Cullinane, who warned work on the final costs is ongoing.

The details emerged during an almost two-hour behind-closed-doors briefing with city councillors last night.

Mr Cullinane, who refused to speak to reporters before or after the briefing, told councillors the original project which won the tender for €20m in State funding was a 10,600sq m venue estimated at €53m, and was based on a brief of requirements provided by PwC, which was managing the tender process for Cork City Council.

BAM said that tender was prepared without the involvement of event centre operator Live Nation.

Mr Cullinane said when Live Nation came on board afterwards, it said it would need a 13,500sq m facility to make it commercially viable.

Councillors were informed that BAM and Live Nation’s outline design, which had taken a year, has been independently assessed and that the venue can be delivered for €65m.

A cost consultant has told them that a contingency of €6m is required given that some design work is outstanding.

Lord Mayor Cllr Des Cahill welcomed the long-awaited update and insisted the project should proceed.

“The State money will be returned in two years in terms of taxes,” he said.

But councillor Fiona Ryan said a “gun was being held to the public’s head” in terms of more State funding.

“Considering the original investment has been increased twice already, I have no confidence in this project. Ordinary people will be looking at this scandal with complete outrage,” she said.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner

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