Cork business groups back skyscraper hotel in docklands amid concerns of river access

Cork business groups back skyscraper hotel in docklands amid concerns of river access

City business groups have backed the development of a skyscraper hotel in Cork's docklands, but concerns have also been raised about retaining access to the river.

Tower Holdings has proposed a 34-storey skyscraper hotel for Custom House Quay. At 140m in height, it would the country's largest building if constructed as proposed.

Two dozen submissions have been made to city planners, including a swell of support from city business groups.

The Cork Business Association claims that it will help Cork to develop as a regional counterbalance to Dublin while Cork Chamber and Fáilte Ireland have also offered their support for the project.

Among the matters raised in the submissions is access to the water.

Meitheal Mara, a community boatyard, said that the Port of Cork has facilitated the use of the pontoon by the likes of Noamhóga Chorcaí, Cork Dragons and the Civil Defence. Losing access "would severely limit the activities" of these groups, Meitheal Mara said.

Green Party councillor Oliver Moran urged planners to require legal guarantees of access to be part of any potential permissions.

He noted that "while the applicant may have the best intentions, there is no guarantee that subsequent owners or managers... will be as civic-minded".

An Taisce and the Irish Georgian Society are both critical of the developers' ambition to demolish the Revenue Building on the site. An Taisce called for the "historic infrastructure, stonework and slating" to be maintained in situ for careful restoration, while the Irish Georgian Society said that the building is "particularly emblematic of Cork's maritime heritage".

Tower Holdings did not comment when contacted by the Irish Examiner as the planning process is still ongoing.

However, in the architectural design statement submitted as part of the planning application, architects Gensler said: "It is necessary to lose the interior of the Revenue Building in order to make way for the new contemporary addition by compensating for the loss with significant benefits to the city and public."

A decision on the development is due by September 24.

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