Agri business site worth breaking open piggy bank to develop city block

Agri business site worth breaking open piggy bank to develop city block
Picture: Larry Cummins

A Cork City quayside prime redevelopment block may be about to move from trough to peak, with the planned sale of a key corner building, McLaughlins, which even — appropriately — has a water trough outside its front door.

Likely to come to market in a month’s time is the city centre veterinary, animal products, pet feeds and crop protection business, at the junction of Lower Glanmire Road and Ship Street.

Third generation family owned, they are vacating to concentrate on their businesses in Bandon and Mitchelstown, citing increasing difficulties in selling bulky, agri and animal related goods with city centre parking issues, a new bus and cycle lane presence in front, and overall access difficulties impacting their trade.

A 19th century 4,000sq ft building, McLaughlin’s forms part of a very strategic development block which also includes old limestone warehouse buildings, used variously for surface level enclosed car parking, tyre sales, as well as engineering supplies company Bell Scott.

Much of the block was acquired/assembled in the early 2000s by the Kenny Group, which got planning permission for a six storey, over-basement office block in 2005 in a bid to lure the Revenue Commissioners to relocate there, branding the proposed Wilson Architecture-designed building The Treasury.

In the event, Revenue vacated their Sullivan’s Quay presence at Government Buildings to move to Assumption Road, Blackpool, in a part-site swap deal done with Ascon/BAM, which demolished and sought planning for an hotel and offices on Sullivan’s Quay.

The rail line connected Kent Station to the west cork railway line
The rail line connected Kent Station to the west cork railway line

Rising Tide

Now, some 15 years later, it appears a rising tide may be flooding in once more to the Treasury/St Patrick’s Quay/Ship St and Lower Glanmire Road block, with interest likely to be piqued by the decision of McLaughlins to vacate.

The business was founded in 1947 by PJ McLaughlin, and was then run for decades by Joe McLaughlin, a very well known West Cork vet, based in Bandon, who passed away last year.

A Mitchelstown premises was opened in the 1950s, and will continue to trade, as will McLaughlins Bandon.

McLaughlins is now predominantly run by two of vet Joe’s sons, brothers David and Philip McLaughlin, and includes the pharmacy Bandon Medical Hall.

Another brother, Barry McLaughlin owns the high-grade and award-winning Poachers bar, restaurant and cookery school in Bandon.

The third-generation business acquired its Lower Glanmire Road premises in 1978, and it’s largely single story with lofty ceilings and small mezzanine.

Pigs being herded along Brian Boru St, Cork, from the train station
Pigs being herded along Brian Boru St, Cork, from the train station

The business announced its closure in January, including on Facebook, while its big, red ‘Closing Down Sale’ banner in a display window reinforced the finality of the measure: “the day it went up, we got two walk-in inquiries about the building,” Dave McLaughlin told the Irish Examiner this week.

It’s now set to go to market in March, after the sale of contents ends in February, via just-appointed estate agent Malcolm Tyrrell of Cohalan Downing, who said proposals for it will be sought.

While there might be inquiries to lease, it’s almost certain to be sold.

There may well be a feeding and bidding frenzy from some of Cork’s main players, including the JCD Group, BAM, O’Callaghan Properties and even funds/end users, given its position, as the closest block to the ‘old’ city at MacCurtain St and the rapidly evolving mixed-use

precinct by the railway station.

The block, between MaCurtain St and Kent Rail Station, is adjacent to blocks currently being developed by JCD Group at Penrose Quay, where some fit-outs of their Penrose Dock buildings have commenced, and next along the road is the Horgans Quay/HQ development of offices, Dean Hotel and, yet to come, build-to-rent-apartments, being done by BAM and Clarendon Properties.

An anomaly is the presence of a water/feeding trough outside the facade of McLaughlins, which precedes their agri/animal feeds and medicines business.

It was associated with the days of livestock being herded through the city, to and from the rail station and quays, while railings by the windows of McLaughlins resemble hitching posts.

Time to unhitch the wagons?

DETAILS: Cohalan Downing Associates 021-4277717.

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