The Port of Cork is set to put the city’s historic Custom House on the market in the coming weeks as it advances plans to relocate to Ringaskiddy.
The building will be brought to market with a guide price expected to be in the region of €6m but could yet fetch significantly more than that given demand in the docklands area.
Sources estimated its eventual price tag could reach as much as €10m.
The 19th century building should prove a major attraction to potential investors given its prominence in the city and rising demand in its vicinity.
The building was taken over by the Harbour Commissioners in 1904 on a 999-year lease before the Harbours Act of 1996 transferred all the Commissioners assets to the Port of Cork.
A new downriver Central Business District (CBD) is beginning to take shape around the historic building with the gleaming new One Albert Quay office development due for full tenancy in February.
The 15,400 sq m development is set to kickstart the district from next month as big ticket tenants such as Tyco, PricewaterHouseCoopers and Investec move into what will be Cork’s largest office block.
The nearby Clarion Hotel on Lapps Quay was snapped up for a record €35.1m last October while the State’s tallest building, the Elysian Tower which is a stone’s throw away is also looking ahead to more favourable times as employment returns to the area.
Other office development sites remain on Albert Quay, Anderson’s Quay and Horgan’s Quay.
The Port of Cork’s decision to put the Custom House up for sale marks another step towards its eventual move to Ringaskiddy and Marino Park.
Last May, An Bord Pleanála granted planning permission for a €100m redevelopment of the Port’s harbour in Ringaskiddy.
The planning body’s decision paves the way for the Ringaskiddy Port Redevelopment project to be operational by 2018.
Advance works, which will include site clearance to the proposed container compound to ensure the main works are not delayed, are due to begin early this year.
The contract for the main works is expected to be awarded in the third quarter of 2016.
The plan allows for the construction of two berths at Ringaskiddy East which will accommodate larger vessels.
Significant economic benefits for the city and wider region will be delivered by the move, according to Port of Cork chief executive, Brendan Keating.
The decision marked the high point of the year for the company which saw more than €8m tonnes of cargo moving in and out of the port.
The company’s latest annual accounts show it made an after-tax profit of €2.5m in 2014.
Turnover for the year was slightly up on the previous year at €24.76m.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved