A Cork City councillor is to write to An Bord Pleanála over the decision by a major developer to scrap a proposed apartment tower in the city centre and instead build offices.
Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy was one of many people to voice their disappointment at the decision by the JCD Group, who demolished a much-loved Cork pub to make way for the development.
More than 200 build-to-rent apartments were to be constructed in a 25-storey block on the site of the former Sextant bar and Carey Tool Hire on Albert Quay in the city.
But developers JCD Group now say that the housing development is financially non-viable and instead want to build a 16-storey office block on the site.
It would be double the height of any previous offices schemes in Cork city centre, and just one floor under the height of the 2008-built Elysian apartment tower.
Mr McCarthy said it is a "really disappointing" decision and "there must be accountability for all involved."
On Twitter, he wrote: "There was no need for The Sextant to be knocked until plans were tied down fully."
Mr McCarthy's comments were echoed by fellow city councillor Dan Boyle who said he is "angry" that The Sextant was demolished following Saturday's reveal.
The Green Party councillor said: "Whether offices or apartments this is the height of cynicism."
Explaining the change from residential to office, JCD said they appointed Deloitte to review the cost of the proposed development in comparison to its valuation on completion.
Rents required to make the 201-apartment project financially viable would have had to rise an average of 21% from current levels to as much as €2,800 per month for a two-bed unit, which JCD say “is not sustainable in the Cork market”.
UCC economist Frank Crowley said these kind of setbacks are "very worrying" for creating a living and sustainable city.
He said the city needs "thousands of apartments each year" to meet expected population growth.
Conor O'Connell, southern chair of the Construction Industry Federation, says Ireland's "matrix of regulations" is a supply constraint and makes construction here the "most extensive in Europe".
Mr O'Connell said unless regulations change "we won’t get the volume needed" to meet requirements
Labour's local area representative for Cork City, Peter Horgan, has called on the housing minister to urgently review the planning process.
Mr Horgan says high rise developments can have a huge impact on the city's housing requirements.
He says JCD's change to office development from residential "flies in the face of the process, even more so when the historic Sextant was knocked to accommodate the residential apartments”.
Mr Horgan says Housing Minister Daragh O'Brien needs to act and issue "stringent, enforceable measures" to halt the project.