Developer comes back from crash with plans for new Galway urban quarter

Project Ceannt on CIÉ lands will be one of State’s biggest-ever urban regeneration schemes

Gerry Barrett is seeking the public’s view on a proposed new urban quarter at Ceannt station off   Eyre Square (pictured) in Galway,   at an estimated cost of about €450 million.

Gerry Barrett is seeking the public’s view on a proposed new urban quarter at Ceannt station off Eyre Square (pictured) in Galway, at an estimated cost of about €450 million.

 

Developer Gerry Barrett, whose fortunes changed dramatically in the 2008 economic crash, is seeking the Galway public’s view on a new urban quarter earmarked for CIÉ lands in the city centre.

Mr Barrett was recently awarded the contract by CIÉ to develop the 8.2-acre site at Ceannt station off Eyre Square as a new “urban quarter” at an estimated cost of about €450 million.

“Project Ceannt” is described as a focus for one of the largest urban regeneration schemes in the history of the State. It could accommodate several hundred houses/apartments, along with retail, food outlets, a hotel or an arts space, while CIÉ will also upgrade bus and rail facilities.

“A new heart for an old city” is how advertisements for the public consultation describe the project, urging members of the public to become involved in the first phase of consultation on a masterplan before a planning application is made.

Deadline

CIÉ has imposed a deadline of seven years to design the scheme, secure planning and build it, and it will retain the full use of lands for another two years to allow for relocation of certain buildings.

Mr Barrett recently secured planning approval for an adjoining city centre development, named Bonham Quay, overlooking Galway docks, which he bought for €9 million before the property crash.

Mr Barrett had previously been named preferred bidder to redevelop what was then a larger CIÉ site at Ceannt station of 15 acres, but plans were abandoned in 2012 due to the recession.

He broke away from the National Asset Management Agency when €778 million in loans held by his company, Edward Holdings, were sold off at a considerable discount.

Portfolio

The company had a comprehensive portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including the G Hotel and Meyrick Hotel in Galway, the D in Drogheda, Co Louth, and Ashford Castle in Co Mayo. The Galway businessman continues to run Scotch Hall Shopping Centre in Drogheda.

An Taisce’s Galway branch has welcomed the opportunity to engage in public consultation, and also welcomes a decision by NUI Galway to seek the public’s views on redevelopment at Nun’s Island in the city.