Call made for urgent events centre update

There have been calls for an urgent public update on the status of Cork’s stalled events centre project as a new report shows how the city is poised for a 30% boost to its hotel bed capacity.

Labour Party activist, Peter Horgan, said government TDs must let people know what’s happening before another year passes without a brick being laid on the controversial venue which has been dogged by delays and controversies.

He made his call as a property expert said the event centre project needs to be delivered if the city is to realise its full potential.

A Savills study released yesterday shows the city is poised for a 30% boost in its hotel bed capacity over the coming years through 11 planned or pending hotel or hostel projects which are at various stages of planning.

If delivered, they have the potential to add just over 1,300 beds to the city’s existing stock of hotel beds which stands at 2,297.

Savills’ hotels and leisure expert, Tom Barrett, said current office development plans are very positive for the city’s hotel sector.

“But certainly the Cork events centre proceeding is necessary for the city to exploit its true potential,” he said.

Mr Horgan said he has been denied in recent weeks a Freedom of Information request for access to a raft of documents linked to the events centre saga.

“Yet again the event centre is shrouded in mystery. And I know of plans for business and shop expansions put on permanent hold as this event centre lists towards oblivion,” he said.

He called on government TDs in Cork to let people know what is happening.

“Deadline after deadline after deadline has been missed and the people, the elected councillors, and elected TDs in Dáil Eireann are kept in the dark,” he said.

Following a protracted tendering process overseen by Cork City Council, BAM Construction won the tender for €20m in state aid to help kickstart their €50m 6,000-seat project on the former Beamish and Crawford brewery site.

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny turned the sod on the project in February 2016 with pledges the venue would open by 2018.

But the entire process has become bogged down in redesigns and wrangling over budgets.

A venue redesign was ordered to make it commercially viable, and as a result, costs have soared, and the developers asked for more public money.

It emerged earlier this year that they were seeking up to €18m more to deliver the venue.

Hotel plans

  • M/Metropole: 217 beds
  • Maldron Hotel, Beasley St/South Mall: 165 beds
  • Kingsley Hotel: 63 extra bedrooms
  • Floatel, Penrose Quay: 96 beds
  • New hostel, Parnell Place: 209 beds
  • BAM site, Sullivan’s Quay: 220 beds
  • Andersons Quay, Horgan’s Quay site and Port of Cork site: earmarked for 416 beds between them.

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