The first store in the newly-developed €50m retail and office complex at the old Capitol Cineplex site in Cork opened its doors yesterday — and will inject new life into one of the city centre’s most historic areas, according to leading business figures in the city.

Television presenter Sinéad Kennedy did the honours of opening discount homeware store Homesense, which is part of the TK Maxx brand, as it pulled thousands of shoppers into Grand Parade throughout the day.

Homesense will be joined by Lifestyle Sports in the retail portion of the development, which has access to the English Market from the Patrick Street side as well as Grand Parade.

Sports retailer Lifestyle will occupy half the space on the ground and first floor of the Capitol, with pedestrian entrances on Grand Parade and Patrick Street, and will be its biggest in Ireland.

One of Cork’s oldest licenced premises, the Oyster Tavern will also be reopened for business at the site with Dublin publican Alan Clancy agreeing a long-term lease.

High quality office space has been taken by some of the world’s major IT companies including Facebook and Huawei. Cybersecurity firm AlienVault moved into offices last month, with the creation of 50 jobs.

The Capitol was developed by John Cleary-led JCD Group, the Cork-based firm behind One Albert Quay and City Gate in Mahon.

Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Des Cahill pictured with store staff and management at the official opening of the new Homesense store on Grand Parade, Cork, yesterday. Picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

A JCD spokesperson said: “We are delighted to have the first retail tenant opening in the Capitol. It’s great for Cork and the city centre to have a new retailer of the calibre of Homesense opening today. The building has already increased the footfall on Grand Parade and Homesense will no doubt drive these numbers up even further. We look forward to Lifestyle Sports and the Oyster Tavern opening in July. All three operations are creating new job opportunities here in Cork and increasing the vibrancy of the city centre.”

Cork Business Association chief executive Lawrence Owens said the driving of footfall to that part of the city centre was vital: “Don’t forget it is a derelict site for a decade. Now we will have 400 or so people working there, which means surrounding businesses such as bars, restaurants and shops will reap the benefits. It is a very classy build, and there is now a very strong allure for people to go down to that end of Patrick Street and the Grand Parade. It is very welcome.”


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