By Tommy Barker, Irish Examiner Property Editor
Planning permission is being sought for a slim, 15-storey, €20m triangular-shaped office tower in the heart of Cork City inspired by the legendary 22-storey 1902 Flatiron building in New York.
Proposed by Kerry builders Tower Holdings, The Prism is set to be slotted into a tiny 3,000 sq ft footprint next to the city’s bus station at Clontarf St, in a pivotal point in the city’s revitalising docklands and quays areas.
Just three quarters the size of a basketball court, the walled brownfield site has been idle for decades, and may survey other new office developments pending, or in train, from its height at Albert Quay, Andersons Quay, Penrose Quay, and at Port of Cork, where a 40-storey tower is also anticipated by the same developers.
Behind the 60,000 sq ft The Prism proposal is Tower Holdings Group, owned by New York-based Kerryman Kevin O’Sullivan, who along with his brother Donal last year agreed the purchase of the historic Port of Cork site for c €5m, subject to planning for a mixed-used €250m development.
That Port of Cork site may possibly accommodate hotel, apartment and office elements, to include conservation of the existing Port/Harbour Commissioners buildings and bonded warehouses. Planning for that loftier scheme is expected to be sought by the end of this year.
The duo, who have built New York skyscrapers and worked on Ground Zero, paid close to €1m for The Prism site, which has a lapsed planning for a nine-storey 31,000 sq ft office building. Yesterday, site notices were erected for this tall tower, with curved glass corners and stainless steel trim.
Design of The Prism is by Cork-based architects Reddy Architecture + Urbanism, envisaging a light-pierced glass office tower, cantilevered a metre or so out over surrounding streets at its third-storey level, on a cross-city corridor between the River Lee’s two channels, a few hundred metres from the 10-year old, 17-storey Elysian tower.
Tower Holdings Group president Kevin O’Sullivan said the Clontarf Street development matches City Hall plans for renewal “and will give a long-awaited boost to this corner of the city”.
We are very excited about this development. Our hope is that it will enhance and enliven the local area, acting as a catalyst for the development of nearby sites. It will become a location marker for a rejuvenated city quarter, providing a much-needed link between the city centre and the docklands,” he added.
Reddy Architecture + Urbanism’s Seán Kearns said the iconic Flatiron Building on New York’s Fifth Avenue was one of the inspirations for the Clontarf Street development. “Through the height and shape of the building our goal is to produce an iconic piece of architecture that has a sense of bravura in the use of cantilevers and curved high-tech glass that we believe will be an attractive and iconic addition to Cork City’s projected growing skyline.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.