Cork council seeks expressions of interest for ex-bank landmark

Ex-Permanent TSB Bank to prove major asset as civic amenity, says council chief

Cork City Council has invited expressions of interest to find the most appropriate use for a former bank in the city centre which it plans to convert into a civic amenity for the people of Cork.

The city council yesterday took formal possession of the former Permanent TSB Bank on Lapp's Quay following a decision by the council last March to acquire the premises.

Cork City Council chief executive Ann Doherty said she was looking forward to the next step in this process, which will involve deciding on a suitable use for this building as part of the city's portfolio.

The city council will publicly advertise for expressions of interest to determine the most appropriate, viable and sustainable use for the building, which closed as a bank in November 2012.

“I believe that this building could ultimately house a viable entity with a civic aspect to its business. It’s exciting now to see what emerges from this process,” said Ms Doherty.

According to Cork City Council director of services, Valerie O'Sullivan, the building was designed by architects T and K Deane in 1839 for the Cork Savings Bank and opened for business in 1842.

“This purpose-built bank is of significant architectural form - it’s of neo-classical design and represents one of the finest limestone buildings of its type in the country,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“It occupies a prominent position in the commercial heart of the city and retains many of its original interesting internal and external features, with very little alteration since its construction.”

The bank was built using limestone from Ballinlough quarries at a cost of £11,000 for the Cork Savings Bank, which began operations in 1817 at a room at the Royal Cork Institution on the South Mall.

Ms O’Sullivan said Cork City Council was “extremely proud” to have acquired such an elegant and historic building in the city centre - a landmark building for Corkonians.

"Its value to the city equals that of places such as Blackrock Castle, Elizabeth Fort and Christchurch, all of which are also in the Council's possession and have been returned as assets to the people of Cork.

“The council has a track record of strategic acquisition of premises like this and the particular location of 1 Lapps Quay on a corner site overlooking the south channel of the Lee is second to none.

“Its acquisition supports council policies of regeneration of the city centre and attraction of employment, footfall, visitors and economic development into the city as the heart of the region.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times