Things are looking up in Cork as planning granted for Ireland's  tallest tower

By Tommy Barker, Property Editor

Full planning permission has been secured this week for a €140m residential development of 413 homes, to include a tower of 25 storeys, at Cork’s Jacob’s Island, near Mahon Point and the Jack Lynch Tunnel.

Approved by An Bord Pleanála under the Government’s ‘fast-track’ Strategic Housing Development (SHD), the development proposes 413 apartments, in six blocks ranging from six to 25 storeys, and which, if built shortly, would be the country’s tallest tower.

The application was made in July 2018 by O’Mahony Pike Architects and HWP planning consultants with a decision expected by the end of October. The planning green light was nearly three weeks ahead of that date.

It is the second significant residential grant in Cork under the SHD procedure, in which an application goes directly to An Bord Pleanála, bypassing the initial layers of local authority involvement.

ABP earlier this year approved a plan for 600 homes, in a phased development, at Ballinglanna, Glanmire, for O’Flynn Construction. Ground and infrastructure works have commenced on that project, with a sales launch due next spring.

McCarthy Properties/Montip Horizon is behind the Mahon riverside proposal. The family-owned McCarthy firm previously developed the existing scheme called Jacob’s Island, spanning 340 apartments, houses, and duplexes at Mahon in the early 2000s.

It also developed 178 apartment blocks across the water at Hartys Quay, Rochestown, Cork in the same period, and all are fully occupied, in a mix of tenure/ownerships.

The new development of 413 apartments, and with planning also granted for a creche and three retail units plus improved access routes, is most likely to be to service the ‘built to rent’ sector rather than built for individual sales.

It is expected ownership will go to a fund or REIT, such as Kennedy Wilson, which earlier this year bought the fully completed and occupied 17-storey Elysian tower, with 210 apartments plus commercial element, in Cork city centre for €87m.

Tomás McCarthy Sr, the chairman of McCarthy Properties, last night said he gave “a warm welcome to the decision of An Bord Pleanála.

“We are now engaging with our design team and development partners to bring forward the development as granted.”

It is understood the Cork company has already been in discussion with overseas funds/investors as possible partners, as well as being in initial consultations with possible building contractors for the ambitious project, where the 25-storey tower alone holds scope for 100 apartments.

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