A masterplan has been unveiled for a multi-million euro redevelopment of the former Irish Fertiliser Industries (IFI) site at Marino Point in Cork harbour, which will include a mix of industries and a new cruise ship berth.
One of the key objectives in creating further port-related activities and attracting new industries to the location will also be the reopening of a spur line connecting it to the Cork-Cobh railway.
The spur line was used to transport ammonia from the IFI plant, which was opened by Nitrigin Éireann Teoranta in 1979.
Its operations were taken over eight years later by IFI in a joint venture with the British-based Imperial Chemical Industries, but the plant closed in 2002 with the loss of 220 jobs.
The Marino Point jetty which is 210m long, 20m wide and has 10m depth of water will be used for smaller cruise liner visits to the harbour, diverting them from docking in Ringaskiddy.
The Port of Cork and Wexford-based Lanber Holdings purchased the Marino Point site in 2017 and set up Belvelly Marino Development Company, which will operate it.
Details of the masterplan were unveiled at a public information meeting at the facility.
Henry Kingston, Port of Cork engineering manager, said a planning application will be lodged later this month with Cork County Council for enabling works to kick start the project.
This will involve the demolition of many old buildings on the 100-plus acre site and upgrading utilities and roads within it.
This will be done on a phased basis and is expected to cost millions of euro to complete. Demolition will begin early next year and a large proportion of it will be completed by the summer of 2021.
Port of Cork chief commercial officer, Conor Mowlds, said they were in discussions with a number of potential tenant companies who were involved in a wide range of activities including fertilisers, bulk cargoes and bio-fuels.
Fertiliser company Origin Gouldings, which is based at the city's quays, has already signalled its intention to move to the location.
Mr Mowlds said he believed a lot of businesses based in the city quays would make the transition to Marino Point, and to a lesser extent those currently working out of the Tivoli docks.
Both men said the move of a number of businesses out of the quays area would open up the Docklands to fairly rapid redevelopment.
Mr Mowlds added that they were looking for companies that would be interested in moving their products by rail, which would enable them to open up the spur line.
“We hope in the next three to five years to see tenants coming onto the site who will create sustainable jobs,” Mr Kingston said.
Junior Minister for Justice David Stanton said he was delighted to see plans unveiled to regenerate the site.
“It's been idle and an eyesore for many years. It will be great for job creation in the area and I say bring it on,” Mr Stanton said.
A further public information meeting will be held across the harbour at Passage West GAA Club from 4pm-8pm tomorrow.