THE first phase of a significant €15million motor trade investment on Cork city’s Bandon Road opens next week, indicative of the recovery in the Irish economy, the motor trade and a forerunner of other developments to follow on Cork’s western fringes.
Opening next week is multi-marque dealership Johnson & Perrott’s new dedicated showroom and workshop for Jaguar and Land Rover, in a dedicated 30,000 sq ft showroom on the former Uponor plastics site.
It’s adding to a cluster of motor-related businesses in the area close to Bishopstown, where Audi now has a strong and very visible presence close to residentially-zoned lands.
Anticipated other developments include mixed-use, ‘outer Bishopstown’ sites near Dunnes (currently undergoing a major upgrade), a possible new dual carriageway extension on the N71, and further as yet undisclosed development on the balance of the Uponor site, c five acres retained by investor and developer Seamus Geaney.
The just-completed first motor showroom “is the largest purpose-build facility for Jaguar and Land Rover in the country, and is a step in positioning Johnson & Perrott as a leader in motor retailing in Cork city and county,” states J&P CEO Mark Whitaker.
It’s to be followed shortly by an additional building on an adjacent site for the country’s first purpose-built dedicated Volvo garage and dealership (see inset pic), after planning permission was secured earlier this month, and which is expected to be finished in about six months’ time.
And, a third element to follow on the total 4.3 acres on the Bandon road acquired two years ago by J&P will comprise a used-car sales centre, with 100 sales/display spaces, for a range of premium quality used cars, adds Mr Whitaker.
When all three elements are delivered, about 50 jobs will be on site at the company’s Bishopstown cluster, with the majority of them being new roles, it’s confirmed.
The first completed, high-profile building for Jaguar/Land Rover is on a site of 2.2 acres and includes 14-vehicle car showroom, a workshop for 13 vehicles with 11 lifts and multi data and phone points — servicing and diagnostics now is very lap-top based — and includes three electric vehicle service bays.
Design of the top-spec building, which includes 23,500 sq ft at ground and 6,500 sq ft mezzanine/offices, shared canteen and training room, is by architect Tom Hegarty.
Builders were Summerhill Construction, along with engineers Horgan & Lynch, Michael Barrett Partnership as QS, and EDC mech & elec.
The site includes a separate four-bay valeting centre, and there’s a new access road to the entire former Uponor site, with site works now started on its other side for a Volvo dealership, in a distinctive ‘white box’ of translucent showrooms/workshop being developed globally by the car maker.
It will be the largest single Volvo showroom in the country.
The €15m investment at Bandon Road sees J&P now with strong presences at both ends of Cork’s south city ring road, added to their presence at Mahon Point.
The business relocated in the 2000s from Emmet Place to facilitate the city centre Opera Lane retail development: the family-owned firm has roots in the carriage-manufacturing business in Cork going back to 1810.
Bandon Road will be J&P’s third Cork site, along with a long-held presence on the suburban Douglas Road, and at Mahon Point, and will see marque transfers from Mahon Point for Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.
The SEAT dealership will transfer to Mahon Point from Midleton after J&P acquired the business from Cashmans over a year ago, and a further, as yet-undisclosed franchise is also expected to be confirmed.
It currently holds franchsies for Honda, Opel, Kia, SEAT, Volvo, Land Rover, Jaguar and Peugeot.
The €15m investment, at Bandon Road in Bishopstown, “represents a huge vote of confidence in the health of the motor industry, in our ability to deliver new and innovative means of transport and in the continuation of the retail dealer as an essential part of the car buying experience,” says Mr Whitaker.