O’Callaghan unveils €50m events centre plan for Cork

A CITY centre site for a €50 million events centre is being proposed to Cork City Council by developer Owen O’Callaghan.

The location is a two-acre site he owns on Albert Quay, 250 yards from City Hall, including a portion he bought from the local authority three years ago.

Previous proposed locations for such a centre have included Mahon Point, also involving O’Callaghan Properties and Cork City Council, and Howard Holdings’ stalled €1 billion Atlantic Quarter development further down the docklands.

Among other rival locations for such an events/conference/convention centre are other quay sites, north and south of the river, as well as the Beamish and Crawford brewery site, set for joint development by BAM, with site owners Heineken Ireland.

Last night, Mr O’Callaghan unveiled his Albert Quay proposals for an up to 5,000-person, adaptable events centre, with a 260-bed four-star hotel, 500 basement car parking spaces and easy access to the bus and rail station (a pedestrian bridge is mooted to link to Penrose Quay/Kent Rail station), with proximity to the city centre.

The two-acre site for the proposed development is fully owned by O’Callaghan Properties and was assembled at a cost of €20m-€25m, initially envisaged for offices. Development cost is put at €50m.

The planned seven-storey development would be above retained old stone warehouse facades, with design by Henry J Lyons Architects. Coincidentally, OCP’s plans emerged in the same week as An Bord Pleanála ruled against a plan for a 11-storey office-based development at the R&H Hall grain silo site across Victoria Road.

The OCP proposal follows a decade of hopes for such a centre in Cork, right back to the 111-acre site sale at Mahon to Mr O’Callaghan, when it was part of the original deal.

Mr O’Callaghan said: “Our proposed event centre is a very viable and deliverable project that will provide a major economic boost to Cork city and county and the wider Munster area in terms of jobs and tourism revenue.”

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