A local authority has defended its decision to place, on the open market, a former bank building it acquired almost two years ago.
Cork City Council said it fully recognises the historic importance of the former Cork Savings Bank property on Lapps Quay, a protected structure, and said any potential sale will be subject to councillors’ approval.
But, it said, inviting proposals for the acquisition of the property through an open market process — managed for the city by an independent sales agent — would identify the most appropriate and sustainable future use for the building.
While the property is guiding at €950,000, a spokesman said it would not just be about getting the best value for the building, but also the best “appropriate use” for it.
It is understood several parties expressed an interest in the building, with possible future uses including a museum, a music venue or educational facility.
The details emerged after some councillors sought clarification on the process following the erection of “for sale” signs on the property earlier this week.
The 7,600sq ft property, which includes No 1 Lapps Quay and No 16 Parnell Place — which is interconnected with and forms part of the main bank premises — served as a Permanent TSB branch until its closure in 2012. It was acquired by the city in July 2014.
Designed by architects T and K Deane in 1839, built for the Cork Savings Bank for £11,000, and opened for business in 1842, the building is an important part of Cork’s architectural heritage.
The building retains many of its original interesting internal and external features, including its facade, built with limestone from Ballinlough quarries, representing one of the finest buildings of its type in the country.
It also boasts a three-storey banking hall with offices and a large boardroom.
In a report to council last month, chief executive Ann Doherty said she intended to invite proposals for its acquisition.
Following the erection of for sale signs on the building, Councillor Ken O’Flynn (FF) sought clarification on the process.
A council spokesman said the process will allow all interested parties visit the building and outline their proposals for its future use.
“An assessment panel will be convened to consider these proposals in accordance with criteria that take account of the financial offer whilst also taking account of the appropriateness of the proposed use as well as the proposer’s track record and financial capacity to deliver and manage the redevelopment of buildings of this importance and type,” he said.
“Any proposed disposal of the property will be subject to the approval of the elected members.”
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