New life for Camden Quay landmark

Site clearance works could start within weeks on a Camden Quay office building of 72,000 sq ft, and which could have a transformative impact on an old Cork city centre area less than 100m from St Patrick Street.

Developers Stone Work Properties Ltd have been given notification of a grant of permission for a fourth floor of set-back additional office space behind the classic, Italianate facade of the quayside building, which brings the project now to 65,000 sq ft of nett lettable space.

Previous uses included a community arts centre (now relocated to John Redmond Street), a temporary courthouse during upgrade works on the city’s main court building on Washington Street, and, for many decades before that, as a garden centre trading as Atkins/McKenzies.

The vacant quayside building, currently with 28,000 sq ft over two levels on a 0.49 acre site stretching back along Pine Street, is adjacent to the long Georgian terrace of four-storey over-basement red brick building running to St Patrick’s Bridge/Bridge Street.

It faces over the Christy Ring Bridge and the Lee’s north channel to Emmet Place, the Opera House and, alongside, the modern office block on Half Moon Street, fully occupied by Apple who plan 1,000 new jobs in a further Hollyhill HQ campus expansion.

The most recent application for the Camden Quay site related to a set-back fourth floor, and redesign of the elevation to Pine Street, were agreed under the 2008 (extended in 2013) permission, via architects Boyd Barrett Murphy O’Connor, amending earlier plans for previous owners Oyster Developments: Oyster had paid over €12m for the site in the early-to-mid 2000s.

(Another former multi-million euro acquisition by Oyster Developments, on Cork’s Carrigrohane Road, is also set for development, in new ownership. Gainster Ltd Partnership have planing for 92 student apartments there , with 400 beds. Also, at nearby Victoria Cross, UCC is understood to have purchased the old Crow’s Nest site assembled by Fleming Construction, with planning for apartments.)

Back at Camden Quay, the project, likely to have a build cost of €12-15 million, incorporates the ornate, south-facing stuccoed riverfront building into an overall design with deep plan, in a strong design with glazing visible over and behind the retained ornate facade.

A glazed atrium, entered through two of the front main archways connects the historic building and the new office space stretching back along Pine Street, facing a modern brick apartment building and multi-storey car park, adding a strong office base to an area with a mix of residential and commercial uses.

The building was put up for sale for receivers in 2014 with a €750,000 guide price quoted by Savills and is understood to have been acquired by Stone Work Properties for under €700,000 by that year’s end, in time for CGT exemption which saw other bidding interest also shown in it by other parties.

Commercial agents advising Stone Work Properties are DTZ Sherry FitzGerald and Savills, who say there’s an appetite for such quality buildings, and that Cork city needs available offices for FDI inquiries.

Purchasers Stone Work Properties say they’ll provide 65,000 sq ft of lettable Grade A office space, and floor plate sizes vary from 9,800 sq ft at top/set-back to 17,200 sq ft, a size favoured by FDI and tech sectors. The development incorporates a small number of car parking spaces, and adjoins the existing multi-storey car park on Carrolls Quay.

  • Cork City chief executive Ann Doherty has said the City Council has acquired two buildings for startup tech hubs: although she didn’t identify them, they are understood to be two adjoining 19th century stone warehouse buildings on Parnell Place by the Bus Station, and the uncompleted, 25,000 sq ft Stapleton House on Oliver Plunkett Street, marketed for several years by DTZ.

DETAILS: DTZ 021-4275454, Savills 021-4271371



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