Permission has been granted for a major student development in the heart of Cork city.
BMOR Developments Limited has been given approval to build accommodation to house nearly 280 students on North Main Street.
The project, which will cost a reported €25m, will be developed by the London-based development company on a key brownfield site at the heart of the city's historic spine.
It also includes two retail units, and space for a coffee shop or restaurant, alongside some 49 student apartments.
An Bord Pleanála agreed to the development on the grounds that it will only be occupied as student accommodation, and nothing else, without “a prior grant of planning permission for change of use.”
Among the other conditions attached is that the management and maintenance of the development shall be “the responsibility of a legally constituted management company”.
This company will maintain the public open spaces and communal areas.
An Bord Pleanála also stated that in the interest of both the future occupants and the surrounding neighbours, the student units will not be amalgamated or combined.
Space for 142 secure bicycle spaces will be provided with the development, too, and An Bord Pleanála also stressed that the developer will protect any archaeological materials or features which may exist within the site. This includes hiring a qualified archaeologist to monitor the works and could be key given the location of the site in one of Cork's oldest areas.
In order to protect the historic character of the area, as well as avoiding damaging the visual amenity in the area, details of shopfronts shall be submitted to, and agreed with, the planning authority prior to any development.
The land has been vacant since it was destroyed by fire in 2008 and was previously partly occupied by the Munster Furniture store. It will also occupy 92 North Main Street, formerly Molloy’s Footwear, as well as 95 and 96 North Main Street, both of which are vacant.
BMOR stated in previous applications that the area has, in recent years, deteriorated. The North Main Street area, in general, is in need of regeneration, they claimed.
The developer has also previously been reported to have been interested in the vacant Dunnes Stores unit in the North Main Street shopping centre, located near the site of this student apartment complex. These plans have not been confirmed, though.
The student apartment development is the latest in a series of proposals for the city centre.
It follows the granting of permission for 216 beds on Orchard Road near UCC, as well as increases in size for developments on both Washington Street and Bandon Road.