Planning approval given for €150m project


CORK CITY Council has granted planning permission for a €150 million to €200 million project incorporating a 6,000-seat event centre on the site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery in Cork city centre.

Council planners granted permission to Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors on Wednesday for the major project which is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and several hundred further jobs when fully operational.

Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dutch giant, Royal BAM Group, applied for planning permission for the project last December and earlier this year briefed the public on their proposals for the 1.8 hectare site.

The project, entitled “The Brewery Quarter”, in addition to the 6,000-seat event centre, also includes a mixed scheme of shops, bars, restaurants, an eight-screen cinema, exhibition areas, 46 student apartments and a viewing tower on the south inner city site.

Yesterday, Heineken Ireland corporate relations manager Declan Farmer welcomed the council’s decision and said Heineken and BAM were particularly conscious of the uniqueness of the site given its historical importance as a brewing site going back to 1690.

Mr Farmer said the development, which also involves the construction of two new pedestrian bridges across the south channel of the river Lee, would be “an extraordinary and unique addition to the city’s townscape with significant regeneration benefit”.

The project, which has been carefully designed to conserve Beamish and Crawford’s historic Counting House with its mock Tudor facade fronting on to South Main Street, would also provide a “vibrant and dynamic hub” to attract visitors to the city centre, he said.

Mr Farmer said the joint developers expect that once the project clears all planning hurdles, construction work would take some two to three years and the developers hope the project would be completed and operational by 2014/2015.

Heineken Ireland and BAM Contractors have continued to engage with music industry promoters Live Nation, who operate the O2 in Dublin, to ensure that the event centre will be a world-class performance venue, said Mr Farmer.

A group of Cork businesses welcomed the decision by the council to grant planning permission for the development and appealed to anyone thinking of objecting to refrain from doing so. Publican Con Dennehy said the group, which is composed of a cross-section of business interests in the city centre including those involved in retail and hospitality, were strongly of the view that the development was too important an opportunity for Cork to squander.

“Not withstanding anyone’s right to object, we would hope sense would prevail. This is too important to be derailed by any frivolous objections and I’d appeal to any potential objector to think twice.”