Port of Cork skyscraper developer responds to petition

The developer behind plans for Ireland’s tallest skyscraper on the historic Port of Cork city site has pledged to restore and conserve its historic buildings and develop a visitor attraction the city will be proud of.

Port of Cork skyscraper developer responds to petition

New York-based Kevin O’Sullivan was reacting last night to the launch of an online petition by artist John Adams, backed by the Green Party and signed by almost 1,300 people, calling for the €250m development to be halted.

Mr Adams said the scheme will “cover up and destroy” the port buildings which he described as some of the most “historical, prominent, visually beautiful buildings in Cork city”. He called on the developers to protect its maritime heritage.

The Green Party’s Oliver Moran said the idea of a 40-storey skyscraper on the site is ludicrous and the focus should be on developing a river amenity centre, with moorings and training facilities, as well as a retail and cultural centre.

“But that can’t happen if the site is taken over by a garish skyscraper that belongs in another part of the docklands away from a building of national significance like this,” he said.

However, in a statement to the Irish Examiner last night, Mr O’Sullivan said it was the presence of the historic Custom House and the wonderful bonded warehouses which attracted him to the site in the first place.

“We are putting in a lot of time and painstaking work on planning the conservation programme,” he said.

“It’s easier to construct new buildings. The hard work here will be in preserving what is already there.

“The proper restoration of these buildings will cost tens of millions of euro.

“We will fully embrace the maritime and commercial history of the site and restore the existing buildings to their former glory, making it a worthy visitor attraction in the heart of Cork City.

“It is our aim to develop a genuine community and civic amenity.

“It goes without saying that we will work closely with the city council on all aspects of the development.

“I would ask people not to pre-judge the issues but wait to see the comprehensive planning and conservation proposal we will lodge with Cork City Council later this year — it will be worth waiting for.”

Pre-planning talks are ongoing about the proposed development, which include a 40-storey skyscraper tower block at the eastern end of the site which would be over twice the height of the city’s current tallest building, the 17-storey Elysian Tower.

Planning won’t be lodged until local area plans for the docklands are finalised.

Meanwhile, a major transport assessment for the entire Cork docklands region, to include the Tivoli docks on the north and the sprawling area on the southside between the city and Páirc Uí Chaoimh, is underway.

The Cork Docklands Area-Based Transport Assessment will examine routes for a possible Luas-style or rapid bus system.

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