CIÉ looks to partner in development of central Galway railway site

‘Ceannt Quarter’ to have 46,000sq m of shops, offices, 176 homes and 200-bed hotel

 

CIÉ is seeking a partner to redevelop a key site of 8.2 acres beside Ceannt railway station in Galway city centre. The sale by Cushman & Wakefield will open the way for a substantial new urban quarter with a mixture of shops, offices and apartments.

Instead of selling off the site, the State transport company is anxious to lock in to an income stream with a chosen developer who will handle the planning application and build out the project.

The Ceannt Quarter is by far the largest development opportunity to have come on the market in Galway city centre in recent decades. It is expected to be of interest to several development and investment companies that are well aware of the pent-up demand for new commercial and residential amenities in the city.

A master plan prepared by CIÉ to comply with the Galway City Development Plan was amended through design changes in 2008 and provides for a development of 46,000sq m (495,134sq ft) of retail space, 23,000sq m (247,567sq ft) of offices, 176 residential units, a 200-bedroom hotel and a transportation interchange.

Transport hub

Such a vast scheme would clearly benefit from its close proximity to the main transport hub and particularly the railway station, which has operated since 1851. Part of the site frontage is occupied by the Meyrick Hotel, previously known as the Great Southern Hotel when it was owned by CIÉ.

The proposed shopping enclave could be expected to broaden the appeal of a city that has two relatively short high streets – Shop Street and William Street – and few large- scale stores.

Patricia Staunton of selling agents Cushman & Wakefield said the demand for both retail and office space was extremely strong in Galway. He said the Ceannt Quarter offered a rare opportunity to create a new urban centre that would provide a major boost to the city’s growth.

Brexit appeal

New offices planned for the station site may well appeal to overseas companies relocating to Ireland as a result of Brexit. Galway property developer Gerry Barrett is already monitoring similar possibilities and is well ahead of CIÉ after lodging a planning application on an adjoining docks site for four high-quality blocks extending to 26,000sq m (279,850sq ft).

The CIÉ site is being offered by way of a development agreement subject to an annual minimum site licence fee of €500,000, followed by the higher of a premium rent or an income sharing arrangement with the preferred bidder.

A similar approach is being taken by CIÉ in the planned redevelopment of Connolly Station, Boston Sidings and Tara Street station in Dublin. Tenders for the Galway project close on November 22nd.

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