One of Cork's most historical areas on the northside has been given the "biggest boost for a quarter of a century" with a regeneration package including new housing and streetscape design.
Blackpool will see major developments on Thomas Davis Street, Dublin Street, and Redforge Road under the plans, which local business owners hailed as potentially transformative for a village long seen as underdeveloped and in need of a major injection of funds.
Long-time business owner Jer Buckley said: "It is the best news and biggest boost for the village in 25 years. It should see more than 200 homes delivered by the end of 2021, as well as a new streetscape for Thomas Davis Street, which will be fantastic for the area.
"It is well deserved for one of the best communities in Cork, whether residential or business, and will greatly enhance one of Cork's most historic villages."
The Respond housing agency is one of the organisations involved in the project, along with Cork City Council and Department of Housing, and funded through the Capital Assistance Scheme and the Capital Advanced Leasing Facility, with some private finance from the Housing Finance Agency.
Work began on Respond's 28 apartments on Thomas Davis Street in December, while a 112-apartment scheme by Cluid at Thomas Davis Street will remove a large derelict site.
A development of 80 homes and two communal facilities for Redforge Road is also under Respond's remit, with a recently Dublin Street block also completed.
CEO of Respond, Declan Dunne, said: “Respond are delighted to be involved in the regeneration of Blackpool. The three projects represent 118 new homes for 118 families and individuals who can create a community here and we hope they will be very happy.
“Respond are building homes throughout the country for families and individuals who are in housing need, with 1,640 new homes under construction and on site since May 2018. A secure place to call home is critical to the quality of life and wellbeing of individuals and families.
"We see first-hand the devastating impact of homelessness and insecure housing in our work with families and children. Our goal now is to provide lifetime social and affordable homes to those who need them.”
Thomas Davis Street, which will also see its streetscape revamped, and nearby Greater William O'Brien Street, are home to some of Cork's best-known businesses and historic buildings, including Mick Moriarty's "Baldy Barber", which first opened its doors in 1937.
Cork City Council said the fallout from the pandemic will not affect its programme for housing delivery, with Cork fast becoming the most sought after location to live in the country.
Blackpool still needs vital infrastructure such as the long-mooted Northern Ring Road and Kilbarry train station, business owners have said.