Republic’s tallest building given construction green light

Hotel and commercial complex to stand at 34-stories on Custom House Quay in Dublin

Planners have given New York-based Tower Holdings the green light for a €140 million, 34-storey hotel and commercial complex that will be the Republic's tallest building.

Tower Holdings is part of the New York construction empire built by Ballinskelligs, Co Kerry-born Kevin O'Sullivan, who emigrated the US in the 1980s.

Cork City Council on Wednesday gave the company permission to build a 34-storey hotel, shops, tourist attraction and a micro-distillery on Custom House Quay in the city.

The 34-storey tower will be the tallest building in the Republic, surpassing Capital Dock in Dublin, a 22-storey structure completed last year, and the 17-storey Cork County Hall.



The plans include proposals to rebuild bonded warehouses on the site as a maritime museum and shopping area, along with a distillery at the property’s eastern end.

The developer also intends restoring Cork’s Custom House building and incorporating that into the project. It is estimated that the development, on an old Port of Cork site, will create up to 800 jobs.

Tower Holdings welcomed news that the council had backed the proposals. A spokesman added that it would have to “fully examine all the planning conditions and certain points of detail to establish their effect on the scheme”.

Submissions criticising the plans last May argued that the proposal should be considered in light of the likely impact of Covid-19 on demand for hotel rooms in the city.

Staff from the London office of multinational architect, Gensler, which earns fees around $2 billion (€1.7 billion) a year, worked on the hotel's design with local firm Henry J Lyons.

"We engaged closely with Cork City Council throughout the design process to ensure we satisfied all their requirements, particularly in relation to the conservation and integration approach towards the existing historical buildings," Tower's spokesman said.

Global chain Marriott will run the hotel when it is completed. The group made a submission to Cork City Council planners backing the project. It will be Marriott’s first venture in the city.

Marriott runs a 31-storey hotel in Long Island City, New York, built by Times Square Construction, the contracting division of Mr O'Sullivan's businesses.

Tower is also working building a €20 million office at Parnell Place Bus Station in Cork, which is close to the Custom House Quay site. Work began in March on that building, which will have 15 storeys.


Tower Holdings Group is the development arm of Mr O’Sullivan’s business and operates both here and in the US, while Times Square Construction is responsible for contracting.

Times Square's projects in New York include apartment and commercial buildings in Manhattan, Queens and Long Island.

The group works mainly on mid- and high-rise buildings that combine apartments, shops and offices.

It has recently completed work on projects on Lexington Avenue, Fifth Avenue and in the city’s financial district.

Mr O’Sullivan founded the group in 2006. He and his family are well-known in New York’s Irish community and in Co Kerry.

Developers have begin focusing on Cork in recent years. Clarendon Properties and construction group BAM Ireland, are building a hotel, apartments and shops on Horgan's Quay, close to the city's railway station. Dublin group, Press Up, is line to run the 114-bedroom hotel.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas