The largest single footprint in the conserved, converted and upgraded yard space with enclosed garden at Cork city’s Thompson House, measuing about 12,500 sq ft, is now available to let, on a new ten year lease, according to Lynch family owners’ co-developer John Lynch.
Work on the upgrades at the historic MacCurtain Street series of former bakery buildings dating from the first half of the 1800 and with a curtain wall modernist 1970s extension by architect Frank Murphy, was overseen by architecte John Hegarty of Fourem, and is now near fully completed.
Anchor tenant is Marriott International/Starwood resorts, with about 50,000 sq ft occupied by Marriott at the upper levels at Thompson House.
Now at completion is a feature, lofty and ‘loft-like’ cool and edgy semi-industrial 12,500 sq ft behind the original 19th century mill/bakery red brick buildings.
Features include repurposed late 1800s cast iron columns and beams, an original FH Thompsons floor mosaic, double height spaces, all at ground level, along with private access to an enclosed back garden.
That outdoor space backs onto a tall sandstone cliff, similar to that at Greens’ Restaurant by Isaacs, on the same stretch of MacCurtain Street, which is rich in thankfully preserved Victorian architectural pedigree.
Rents aren’t disclosed by Mr Lynch (ie are negotiable), and he says that due to historically low rates level and low service charges, the overall rental costs for the last available and largest unit here now could be around half the c €32 psf plus charges now being quoted for Cork’s brand new Grade A office development elsewhere along the quays.
The unit is part of an array of new users at Thompson House, that include the new Glass Curtain restaurant (named for the 1967-opened glazed, curtain wall building extension), opened in December by chef Brian Murray.
Also just in are HR/recruitment software company VSource, high-end catering suppliers Bunzl McLaughlin, and the forthcoming Thompson Bar Restaurant, and microbrewery.
This is, due to trade by April, and is sort of a 21st century version of the old Thompsons’ cafes, which in turn were “the Starbucks of their day as there were quite a few of them in the city,” quips John Lynch.
Fourem architect John Hegarty notes that the most recent works to the old Thompsons Bakery “have revealed its remarkable quality.
Some of the spaces have a cathedral-like scale that hadn’t been seen for years.
“As an architect working on historic buildings, knowing when new additions should ‘stay quiet’ is a key skill. The best compliment you can get is that it looks like almost nothing has been done.
“New additions should be noiseless and only appreciated for their own qualities when finally discovered.
“At Thompsons, the impact of additions to the building has been kept very quiet.
“John Lynch recognised the significance of the building in MacCurtain Street and went much further than required, by repairing and restoring much original detail,” Mr Hegarty asserts.
“It was really rewarding to be involved in a project where the building owner clearly understands the benefit of a civic responsibility to care for their building in a shared streetscape.
“The project is an example to follow for Cork where so many historic buildings that would be the envy of many cities are at risk. It’s brilliant to see the Thompsons sign restored,” the latest architect to work on the historic buildings adds.