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One of the standout commercial success stories in Cork city and county has been the evolution of the cluster of busy retail and industrial parks located at Little Island and EastGate.
Historically celebrated as a harbour area of natural beauty, in the past decade the location has evolved into one of the most successful locations for business activity, home to some of the country's most instantly recognisable companies, ranging from leaders in retailing and hospitality to manufacturing and warehousing.
Already very busy with huge daily commuter and consumer traffic, the numbers visiting the area will expand significantly in the coming months as pre-Christmas commerce takes off in earnest.
Access to and from the busy complex is generally pretty good considering Little Island is an area which is visited by an estimated 17,000 people every day.
This eye-watering figure is made up of about 7,500 or so people routinely arriving at and leaving from work at the companies in the area, as well as the thousands of others who visit Little Island for everything from meetings, shopping trips or simply visiting the local hotel.
A new transport survey of Little Island conducted by Cork Chamber looks at this location in the context of the broader Cork and nationwide transport plan. Nowhere is the need for action on road and transport development more evident than in this busy, successful area.
The strong, cohesive voice in Little Island's community and business is ensuring that the long-awaited demand for road access and related infrastructure remains on the top of the public agenda locally and nationally.
Thomas McHugh, director of public affairs, Cork Chamber, said: "In Little Island, we have an exceptional base of progressive companies that disproportionately drive the economy of the southern region. They call for action.
"We must rise to the challenges set forth by an environmentally and socially conscious generation. Every company and individual has a role play. But spatial planning and infrastructural investment have an immense weighting in the future success of a sustainable Cork."
The business parks, notably Little Island Business Park and EastGate Retail and Business Park, are home to some of the country’s leading businesses, covering a vast range from retail through to industrial and warehousing.
Once a small village near Cork city, it is now a thriving industrial and economic hub which supports tens of thousands of jobs and many of the world’s biggest companies. On paper, it makes sense that this growth happened. Situated less than 10km east of Cork city, it is on the main road between the city and Rosslare. Easily connected to the city centre, east Cork, Ringaskiddy and the broader Cork hinterland, the area has exploded in the last two decades. Its immediate connection to the motorway to Dublin can’t have hurt, either.
Population centres have emerged nearby in Glanmire and Glounthaune, much of it attracted towards the industrial and economic hub at Little Island.
From the 1990s, the developments in Little Island have grown at an extraordinary pace. The EastGate Business & Retail Park provided a base for internationally known names to set down, many starting with smaller operations close to the city centre before growing in the years since.
The park covers 120 acres of industrial units and office space. A huge range of offices and retail brands are well established in the area, many for close to 20 years.
The EastGate business park includes the likes of Quinn Insurance, Tyco Electronics, Pepsico, DPS Engineering and ESBI International, as well as the likes of Harvey Normans and the very popular SPAR outlet, which is the leading store in the chain of SPAR outlets owned by the Cantillon family.
Together with EastGate village, the business park is collectively supporting the residential and commercial areas of Little Island, Glanmire and Glounthaune, linking Cork city to East Cork.
With a direct rail link to Cork city, Cobh and Midleton, the area has rapidly become one of the most sought-after areas in the wider Cork city region to live and work.
Here are links to a number of the popular and successful companies operating in Little Island:
During the busy working days, the commercial population of Little Island dwarfs the residential population in the area. Estimates put the numbers working in Little Island at anywhere from 15,000 to 17,000 employees, with several large companies in the area announcing substantial job numbers in the last 12 to 18 months too.
As the economy grows, so too will the Little Island industrial area.
Given how quickly the rate of development has been in the last few decades, who knows exactly what could be in store for the next few?