Site is on the right track

Wheels within wheels — an appropriate new use has been found for part of the giant, old Cork Ford factory — it’s to host whizzing karts, on a brand new indoors track.

Site is on the right track

Ever before the Marina site’s era of manufacturing slow-moving Fordson tractors and faster saloon cars, the Leeside site had been a racecourse: now, those two previous uses get combined in one competitive kart-racing investment.

Moving to open their second Irish indoor karting track at the Marina Commercial Park is the Limerick-based National Kart Centre, which claims to already operate the world’s largest indoor track.

NKC has a 1,500m indoors track at the old Burlington (textiles) estate, in Gillogue, Corbally, just north of Limerick city centre.

The size of the Cork track, currently being fitted on the upper level of the large, main factory building at the Marina Commercial Park (MCP), may not be a mile long, but the size of the deal is quite impressive: NKC is taking 32,000 sq ft at the Marina for high-speed karts — ironically in a site which started making Fordson tractors back in 1917 as part of a new drive for food production in Europe post-WW1.

The deal was negotiated by James Cogan of ERA Commercial, along with Diarmuid O’Sullivan of Templeford/Marina Commercial Park (MCP), which has 500,000 sq ft of building on 32 acres, previous home to Fords and Dunlops. Due to open in the New Year — “these kart boys don’t hang around, quips Diarmuid O’Sullivan — the National Kart Centre Mark II joins other leisure uses at the Marina such as Munster Airsoft, who have recently moved to a larger river-fronting building, and a gym.

NKC also follows hot on the heels of the arrival of the new Franciscan Well craft brewery in a 50,000 sq ft move to the MCP, to a unit vacated by Beamish and Crawford who’d used it for distribution. As reported here last week, a multi-million euro investment is underway now at the Franciscan Well’s Marina brewery.

Ambitious Cork dockland regeneration plans had been drawn up by MCP/Templeford’s director Gerry Wycherley, with proposals for close to 3,000,000 sq ft of development at the MCP and adjoining south docks sites — but much of Cork docks’ renewal is now on the longer finger, despite ongoing site and silo clearances south of the river.

The diverse Marina Commercial Park hosts 150 different businesses employing 1,500 people on 32 acres a kilometre or so from City Hall. “We’re the place for space,” adds Mr O’Sullivan.

Currently, the MCP has space available in sizes up to 20,000 sq ft, with small offices from €35 per week, and small commercial units from €100 per week, with 24-hour manned security, and short leases can be secured.

Details: James Cogan ERA Commercial 021-4905000

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