The regeneration of Cork’s city docklands has been given a major boost thanks to a €405m urban regeneration funding announcement by the government this morning, of which €50m will be spent on a facelift for the city centre.
The city is also poised to get a new central library as part of a €46m revamp of the Grand Parade, which will include a revamp of Bishop Lucey Park to create a new public space linking the Grand Parade and South Main St.
The city’s vast docklands site, described as one of the largest brownfield regeneration sites in Europe, is in line for just over €353m of the €405m funding which has been announced for Cork under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) package.
The funding for Cork City is the largest allocation for a single local authority in the country.
The city is set to be one of the fastest-growing in the country over the next 20-years.
The 146-hectare area docklands region has been earmarked for development as a new urban quarter with the potential to house over 25,000, and a mix of apartments, schools, sports and recreation facilities as well as transport infrastructure, including two new bridges.
Significant funding has also been announced for the county, with €4.7m announced for the Mallow Town Centre regeneration project, including the Mallow Castle visitor centre project, and €817,500 announced for the Passage West-Ringaskiddy-Carrigaline Harbour Cluster, which includes plans for a new cycleway linking the city to Passage West and a new civic space for Carrigaline.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin described the funding as 'transformative', saying it will usher in a new era of growth for Cork.
"This significant investment of over €400m we are announcing today is a game-changer for Cork and positions the city for major growth over the next decades.
“It’s all about making Cork City and County even better places in which to work, live, visit and invest. The Cork City Docklands Project investment of €353m will transform the recreational, residential and commercial areas, and prime the docklands for significant follow up private sector development.
“It provides funding for the new Marina Park, it provides funding for cycleways, walkways and the Eastern Gateway Bridge, which will further improve connectivity.
“The investment will transform the Grand Parade with over €50m for a new public library, a new central plaza and boardwalk to facilitate cultural and recreational activities – making it one of the most attractive features in the centre of our city.
“It underpins the strategy of creating strong regional cities outside Dublin, with significant funding also for Mallow town centre regeneration, Passage West, Ringaskiddy and Carrigaline Harbour Cluster.”
Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh said the potential of Cork’s docklands has been long recognised but today we say that ambition eventually being backed by solid investment.
"The Cork City Docklands regeneration will provide jobs and homes to tens of thousands of people and make Cork a world-class city to live and work in - supporting the Government’s ambition to develop the city as a true counterbalance to Dublin. It is heartening to see further regeneration in the very heart of the medieval city – alongside the old city walls at the Grand Parade Quarter.
"Not only will we be progressing with plans to develop a library that can facilitate up to one million visits but we will also experience the opening up of Bishop Lucey Park to the wider city as part of its redesign”.
Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty described the Cork City Docklands as the biggest regeneration project in this country.
"Here we are creating a new quarter that is built for the future: a place where people want to live, work and play – because of its job opportunities, community, green spaces and reliable public transport.
"Today’s government funding announcement will also bring further certainty to the private sector who are demonstrating huge confidence in Cork City Docklands. To make our vision a reality, Cork City Council will be working with a range of partners to deliver services such as schools, health services, community and cultural facilities."
Senator Jerry Buttimer welcomed the announcement of the second round of URDF funding.
Cork got €14.36m under the first round of funding announced in November 2018. It was spent on projects in Mallow, Carrigtwohill, Carrigaline, Cobh and Midleton as well as the city.
“This new investment will unlock the potential of our urban areas, making the best use of land available, promoting sensible development and compact growth, and ensuring that our urban communities are attractive and vibrant places in which to live, work and visit,” Mr Buttimer said.
“The support from the URDF for our communities is more vital than ever with the growth in remote and blended working which means more time spent at home locally, reduced time spent commuting as well as a boost for local businesses.”