Cork could surpass Dublin and become one of the most attractive locations for investment in Europe, according to Greg Coughlan, chief executive of property development company Howard Holdings.
“If executed correctly and in a timely fashion, the docklands project could make Cork the most attractive location for investment outside Dublin and possibly in Europe,” Mr Coughlan said, speaking at a Cork Chamber breakfast briefing yesterday morning.
A vital national development project, the docklands presents a ‘once off opportunity to advance the city economically, socially and aesthetically,’ according to Mr Coughlan.
However, the Howard Holdings boss stressed the need to focus on the bigger picture — hitting out at objectors and those un-supportive of the plan to re-develop the docks.
“The status quo has been given sacred status,” he said.
“Developers are fighting against a system backed by planning policy, which is heavily skewed in favour of those that don’t want things to happen.”
Mr Coughlan pointed to the speedy development of the docks as the best marketing platform Cork can ever offer, attracting new business from all over Europe, with high-quality office space.
He highlighted the need for Cork to etch out its own place in Europe.
“We need to look at our place in Europe, not just at what we can pick up from Dublin,” he said.
City Manager Joe Gavin defended the performance of Cork City Council and the planning system, pointing out that one million square feet of office space had been created in Cork during the past five years.
Mr Gavin highlighted the fact that there were many sites around the city lying derelict or vacant and that it was up to developers to move forward with development plans.