Cork event centre funding winner known next month

The winner of the race between two rival developers for a potential €16m kickstart fund to help build a multi-million euro events centre in Cork City will be announced next month.

It emerged last night that two parties — O’Callaghan Properties, and the joint venture between Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors — have been invited to submit final tenders ahead of the final decision which will emerge by July 8.

Mr O’Callaghan has planning permission for a €50m 6,000-capacity events centre on Albert Quay.

A €50m 6,000-capacity events centre is the focal point of Heinken/BAM’s €150m Brewery Quarter regeneration of the former Beamish and Crawford site on South Main St.

Dan Buggy, acting chief executive of Cork City Council, told city councillors last night two applications were received after the publication of its Competitive Dialogue Procurement process earlier this year.

Both submissions received by City Hall were deemed suitable and were invited to participate in a dialogue process, he said.

“There were three rounds of dialogue meetings rather than the anticipated two and this phase has now been completed and both parties have been invited to submit final tenders,” said Mr Buggy.

“It is anticipated that these will be received and assessed by the final evaluation panel with a view to a final report issuing by July 8.”

This report, which will indicate the preferred developer, will then come before city councillors at their meeting on July 14 for a decision on whether or not the council will invest in the preferred project.

A potential kick-start fund of up to €16m is on offer — €10m from the Government announced in last December’s budget and up to €6m from the city council.

Fine Gael’s John Buttimer and Sinn Féin’s Chris O’Leary said it is key that councillors get enough time to consider the final report before they vote on possible city investment in a centre.

Fianna Fáil’s Tom O’Driscoll said it is also essential all recently elected councillors are fully briefed on the proposal.

Deputy Lord Mayor Ken O’Flynn of Fianna Fái said Mr O’Callaghan’s proposal in the city’s docklands is “the only show in town”.

“It will kick off the city’s docklands development and will encourage investors to invest in Cork,” he said.

Mr O’Flynn called on its owners, Heineken Ireland, to gift the Beamish site to the city if it is not selected.

Planning permission is also still valid for an events centre on the old Ford distribution site near Páirc Uí Chaoimh, proposed by Howard Holdings.


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