A major development of high-rise student accommodation has been given the go-ahead in Cork.

Bord Pleanála has approved the construction of a 255-bed development at Victoria Cross. It is set to rise to between eight and 10 storeys across four linked blocks on the former site of the Crow’s Nest bar.

UCC acquired the Victoria Cross site from a private developer in 2016. It was allowed last December to submit the multimillion-euro project directly to Bord Pleanála, after the board ruled it qualified for rapid planning consideration under new strategic housing development terms.

These regulations were introduced in June as part of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland initiative. Projects of 100-plus houses, or 200-plus student apartments are eligible, with a ruling timeline for the board to consider all aspects, including objections, set at 25 weeks.

The site was acquired more than a a decade ago by Fleming Construction. It was later sold to a consortium, which sold it on to UCC.

Just west of the main UCC campus, at the start of the Carrigrohane ‘Straight’ road, it may join the 16-storey Cork County Hall at the city’s western extremity by the Lee Fields.

The facilities will include groundfloor common room, laundry, administration office and meeting room on a development with its main entrance at Carrigrohane Road. A ground-floor commercial café unit is included, along with a healthcare facility/wellness centre with occupational therapy, nursing and a number of other treatment and consulting rooms.

While the board has fast-tracked its decision, conditions attaching to the planning permission appear to restrict use to student accommodation only. This is likely to prevent short-term summer letting out of term, which many developers (colleges and private) deem necessary to make it commercially viable, and/ or to meet financing arrangements.

Meanwhile, demolition work is continuing on the site of the former tax office in Cork City centre. A decision to advance demolition of the seven-storey building on Sullivan’s Quay was taken last September after it was the scene of two fires in two days, one on the roof and the other on the fourth floor. City fire chiefs were concerned that it was the work of vandals.

The former tax and FAS offices on Sullivan’s Quay which are being demolished. Picture: David Keane
The former tax and FAS offices on Sullivan’s Quay which are being demolished. Picture: David Keane

Developers BAM is planning to build a hotel on the site and says it has attracted a premium international hotel brand to the location.

Planning permission was granted in 2009 for a major office development and a 183-bed hotel after BAM acquired the site from the Revenue Commissioners in 2006.

However, the decade-long financial and construction downturn meant the site has remained undeveloped.

BAM lodged new plans in May, increasing the number of hotel rooms to 193 and then seeking permission to modify the plans further, increasing the number to 220 to accommodate the four-star hotel chain.

Last December, Cork City Council granted permission for the development. It would be the city’s biggest hotel.


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