Plans for a new €320m urban quarter in Galway City centre have been revealed.
The planning application, due to be lodged with Galway City Council, promises four new public squares and 11 new streets and lanes as part of a residential-led scheme on lands around Galway’s Ceannt Station.
Developer Gerry Barrett was selected as a partner by CIÉ to develop more than eight acres of the lands around the bus and railway station.
His company, Edward Holdings, is currently constructing a mixed-use scheme on adjoining property close to the Galway docks, renamed ‘Bonham Quay’.
The Ceannt station project, named ‘Augustine Hill’, is being led by sister company Edward Capital, and will be financed by Summix Capital.
It involves a proposed 378 residential units, including assisted-living units, a pedestrian “shopping precinct”, a six-screen cinema, several public performance spaces, and parking for 620 cars.
Some 25,100 sq m of retail space and 5,100 sq m of leisure space are set to include 11 streets and lanes linking to Eyre Square, the Galway docks, and Lough Atalia.
Mr Michael Mullen of BDP Architects said the “compact” quarter would offer a “release valve” for Eyre Square and adjoining streets, and the project aims to restore a number of period buildings.
Mr Barrett’s team said that it will “help rebalance Galway” in reversing the “doughnut” effect of locating jobs, investment, and housing on the outskirts of the city.
Galway’s population is predicted to increase by almost 50,000 people over the next two decades.
An economic analysis of the project by NUI Galway’s Whitaker Institute estimates it will generate 2,700 jobs and boost the national economy by €200m annually.
Over 600 people will be employed during construction if planning permission is granted.
CIÉ chief executive Lorcan O’Connor noted that CIÉ lands can “play a key role in the provision of housing, employment, public services and leisure space in close proximity to frequent, high-quality transport services — the very ethos of transport-orientated development”.
An Taisce’s Galway branch chairman Derrick Hambleton said his group would study the plans in detail.
Mr Hambleton said Galway City Council has failed to produce a local area plan for the city centre, which means that a “developer-led approach is being facilitated”.
Mr Barrett had previously been named preferred bidder to redevelop what was then a larger CIÉ site at Ceannt station of 15 acres, but plans were abandoned in 2012 due to the recession.
Before the downturn, he and his associated companies held a comprehensive portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including Galway’s G Hotel and Ashford Castle, Co Mayo.