Sustainability hits new South Mall office heights

The first new office building to be constructed on Cork city’s South Mall in a generation is 35% more energy efficient than comparable buildings, constructed even up to just a decade ago.

That’s the achievement of 85 South Mall, a 45,000 sq ft Gold LEED office block snuck into a 0.35 acre city centre site behind a slender, new South Mall facade. It’s fully let on its completion, and it’s where the first of 150 KPMG staff made their short move to this week, relocating from a 1970s-built block alongside at 89/90 South Mall.

Energy efficiency features at the sleek John Cleary Developments’ (JCD) 85 South Mall building, with 10,000 sq ft floor plates, three-metre ceiling heights and considerable runs of overhead terraces and balcony, designed to be readily accessible and safe, and it’s capable of hosting up to 400 employees.

Delivered almost as a South Mall game changer, turning back a tide of edge-of-city office developments and dockland campus acquisitions, it’s as central a location as possible in a river-entwined city like Cork, the shiny new energy-savvy 21st kid, among mid-20th century offices, and 19th century originals.

Set to accommodate 300 city-based workers, No 85 South Mall’s completion has brightened up the adjacent and jaded Smith Street and Phoenix Streets linking to Oliver Plunkett Street, with its new glazed frontage and glimpses within of an international mix of Forcepoint employees, as well as having a more muted, deferential appearance to South Mall.

Features including rainwater harvesting, LED lighting on motion sensors which dim automatically when daylight is strong, photovoltaic cells for generating power for the building’s landlord areas, electric car charge points, and 40 bike parking slots, versus just 26 spaces for cars in the building’s single basement level (where there are showers and changing rooms) accessed off Crane Lane by two vehicle lifts.

To that could, almost incidentally, be added a location slap-bang in the city core, with shops, cafes, bars, restaurants, and services on the doorstep, a series of bus stops by the front door, and the city’s bus station and rail station within a short walk. In short, it’s urban living and city working, effectively delivered.

JCD director Martin O’Brien says the building is 30-35% more efficient than even the first modern builds they did in City Gate in Mahon in the mid 2000s.

From a sustainability perspective, 85 South Mall is targeting a Gold LEED accreditation which has involved significant investment, including the provision of rainwater harvesting, energy-efficient glazing and building façade, LED lighting, and enhanced building insulation

“In the long term this investment results in real cost-savings to the occupier. We have seen in previous Gold LEED standard developments that we have completed, such as The Capitol, One Albert Quay, and City Gate Park up to 35% of running cost savings for occupiers in comparison to older buildings.”

KPMG’s c 150 staff now join IT cyber security firm Forcepoint in the impressive and highly-efficient new 45,000 sq ft South Mall building, with Forecpoint’s employment set to grow from 80 to about 130.

The two companies share the full building, with two and a half floors each, with ‘intelligent’ lifts delivering staff to their individual reception areas.

Each of the two anchor occupiers then has feature, wide, engaging internal staircases to allow for inter-floor movement without the need for a lift.

It has been done by the JCD Group, to a design by Henry J Lyons Architects, delivered over a 16-month build period by P J Hegarty & Co with minimal street disruption during the construction. Fit-outs were also done by Henry J Lyons, with Forcepoint moving in two months ago, and KPMG this week after their own high-end, three-month fit-out.

The assembled site, pieced together off-market in 2016/17, had included two, old terraced office buildings, a secure cash vault for the Bank of Ireland, and a car parking lot.

And, as KPMG this week made the move from 89/90 South Mall, JCD confirmed that another tenant at 89/90, US tech company NGINX, are leasing the third and fourth floors of that building, being vacated by KPMG.

An extensive c €1 million refurbishment of those floors, as well as the reception area of the building has just commenced.

No 89/90 is now 100% occupied by NGINX, as well as by law firm JRAP O’Meara, US cyber security company, Cylance, and a recruitment company, Stelfox, and on full occupation will have capacity for c 300 persons.


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