Cork City Council backs increasing funding for €50m-plus event centre for the city

Heineken Ireland/BAM proposal for 6,000 seat centre at former brewery is successful


Cork City Council is to increase financial support for a €50 millon event centre to be built on the former brewery site by Heineken Ireland /BAM.

The 6,000-seat centre is to be to built at the site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery, on Cork's South Main Street.

Heineken Ireland corporate relations manager Declan Farmer said that Heineken Ireland and BAM were both very pleased at the council decision, pointing out that the event centre was the first phase in a planned €150 million redevelopment of the Brewery Quarter.

Mr Farmer expressed confidence that construction of the event centre will begin early in 2015 with the centre opening in 2016. The rest of the regeneration of the site which is expected to support 1,000 jobs will follow on in phases, he said.

A rival proposal from developer Owen O'Callaghan's company, O'Callaghan Properties, sought to develop a site on Albert Quay near the docklands.

Both proposals sought State assistance to develop the project and the Government originally pledged €10 million, while Cork City Council had offered a grant of €4 million with a loan of a further €2 million to kickstart the project.

However, The Irish Times understands both developers felt that there would be a difficulty in developing their respective centres with just €16 million in State support and both developers sought State aid in the region of €24 million.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney confirmed he met Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the weekend and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin yesterday to secure extra funding for the project.

Mr Coveney, said following the discussions, the Government agreed to increase its support from €10 million to €12 million.

Meanwhile, the revised proposal involved Cork City Council increasing its support from €4 million to €8 million, with the €2 million loan being converted into a grant and a further €2 million being provided to secure the future of the project for Cork.

The proposal for Cork City Council to increase its funding for the project from €4 million to €8 million was passed by 25 votes to four with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin all backing the measure with only the Anti-Austerity Alliance and Workers Party voting against.