Plans for a €140m regeneration of Cork’s landmark Custom House quays site, which includes Ireland’s tallest building, have been approved.
An Bord Pleanála has upheld the decision made by Cork City Council last October to grant planning with conditions for the Tower Holdings hotel, retail, commercial and leisure project, which includes a soaring 34-storey 240-bedroom hotel.
The former Port of Cork site will be redeveloped with a mix of retail, office, food and beverage, distillery, tourism and leisure amenities.
The project includes the partial demolition of some protected structures, including the former Port of Cork Revenue Building, as well as conservation and repair works including alterations, extensions and changes of use of the existing and protected Custom House building, to provide a reception, bar, restaurant, function areas, plant and ESB substation for the hotel, as well as conservation and repair works to the Bonded Warehouses on the site.
The city council’s decision had been appealed by the Irish Georgian Society, by An Taisce Corcaigh, and by artist John Adams, who lives in, Cobh, who had all expressed concerns about the height of the tower, its visual impact on the skyline, and on the treatment of several historic but disused buildings on the site.
But in its decision which emerged today, the planning appeals board said the project would secure the re-development of strategic, under-utilised urban land in a prominent city centre location and would assist in the re-development and rejuvenation of this part of Cork City Centre, in accordance with the policies and objectives of the current Cork City Development Plan.
The board said there will be positive impacts on the cultural heritage of this part of Cork City arising from the restoration, extension and reuse of currently vacant or under-utilised historic buildings and the opening up of the site to the public and the extensive provision of public realm.
The planning decision comes just days after the state announced a €353m investment in the city's docklands to help drive future development.