New developer sought for Waterford North Quays development

Developer Falcon Real Estate was unable to meet funding requirements of €400m for the project
New developer sought for Waterford North Quays development

Artist's impressions of the proposed redevelopment of Waterford's North Quays.

A new development partner will be sought for Waterford's North Quays regeneration project after the current developer Falcon Real Estate was unable to meet funding requirements.

Waterford City and County Council confirmed on Monday that Falcon was unable to meet the funding pre-conditions of its contract despite the deadline being extended to May 15.

Falcon had previously stated a commitment of €400m to the long-awaited regeneration development in the city, which would include a 15-storey hotel and conference centre, twin blocks of office space rising to seven storeys, 300 apartments spread across five buildings of seven to 17 storeys in height and an open public space.

The council said all contractual conditions at its end had been met.

Michael Walsh, chief executive of Waterford City and County Council, said "every opportunity" was given to Falcon to satisfy the pre-commitment to demonstrate the money was in place to do the development.

Council remains committed

The council chief said while there is disappointment that it came to this, the council remains committed to completing the project, which would be the largest mixed-use real estate destination development in the south-east of Ireland.

We want to make this happen. I can absolutely assure you that there isn't anyone in my team or myself that doesn't want to see this happen.

"If we were seeing a realistic option on the other side of the table, we would be taking it."

The council has received assurances from Government that the €110m in State funding pledged last November is still committed.

Artist's impression of the mall interior at Waterford North Quays.
Artist's impression of the mall interior at Waterford North Quays.

At the time this substantial funding was approved, Mr Walsh said the council believed they were "literally within days" of finalising the contract with Falcon.

Mr Walsh said Falcon had committed significant resources and shown real commitment to the project over a sustained period of time and that the conclusion of the partnership in no way diminished that.

He also said there is no reason why Falcon cannot re-enter the process if they can secure the necessary funding.

The council is moving forward so as not to risk more time being lost and intends to immediately return to the market-place to secure other development partners.

"We have a preferred scheme, we do not have a preferred developer for it but we have taken significant professional advice, significant financial advice and economic advice," Mr Walsh told WLR FM.

We would see ourselves putting into the public domain in the next two or three months what we think is a very good proposition with the North Quays."

He said the council would be going to the market in the coming weeks to be ready as the marketplace opens up again following Covid-19.

'Shovel-ready'

The project is described as being "shovel-ready" by the council chief. As it has a Strategic Development Zone designation, a revised planning permission will only take three months to complete once ready.

According to an auditor report earlier this year, as of January 2021, the council had spent €23.5m on the mixed-use development.

Mr Walsh assured that no money would be lost in extricating its from the contract with Falcon.

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