It’s almost a pub quiz question for Cork’s version of University Challenge: for two marks, when was the fabled Western Star Pub demolished.
And, for ten marks, why, oh why?
The closest bar to the UCC campus for many decades, the Western Star was a place of legend, and lounging about, and gigs, and sports clubs’ gatherings, and respite from lectures and exams.
Then, in 2008, it was demolished in the nebulous name of ‘progress,’ and property development, all set for a replacement scheme of 12 medical suites, and 29 car parking spaces, and all to be shoe-horned into a long, long narrow site between the Western Road and the River Lee.
The decision by a consortium of owners with bar-ownership backgrounds to sell/bulldoze the stone-faced building and beer garden known by generations of students and imbibers as ‘Starries’, before being ready to develop the site must have cost millions of euro in lost revenue over the last eight years.
And, now, after years idle and growing weeds, the 0.34 acre infill profile site has been put up for sale, billed as “a prime opportunity site” and, adds Philip Horgan of DTZ “the fact that the current student population will know nothing about the place is testament to how long the site has remained idle, and how long this recession has been.”
DTZ gives a guide of €900,000 for the sliver of site, with two strong neighbouring occupiers and presences, either or both of which could have covetous ‘Starries’ eyes on this opportunity.
UCC is one, and holds much of the property on either side on Western Road, including college departments and student accommodation at Castlewhite plus a creche.
Also dominant on this stretch is the Bon Secours private hospital to the south, and now embarking on a multi-million euro expansion as well as two blocks of private consultants’ clinics, knows locally as ‘The Pink Palaces.’
Under the Cork City Development Plan 2015 – 2021 zoning is for residential, local services and institutional uses. It has a previous (now expired) grant of planning for 12 medical suites over 29 ground level car parking spaces.
A recent offer of a 0.82 acre infill (former filling station) site on Western Road saw it sell for above its €3m guide, and there were very strong bids on the former 0.8 acre Square Deal site, which had made a reported €6-7m in bids via Savills, but was withdrawn after advanced negotiations by the vendors.
There’s growing demand for student accommodation and rents are rising as sites are pursued, and “there were a wide range of investor profiles looking at these assets,” says DTZ Cork MD Peter O’Flynn.
Details: DTZ 021-4275454
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