Plans unveiled for €1bn project to regenerate Cork docklands


A PLANNING application will be lodged today for the largest ever single development project in Cork.

Howard Holdings will seek permission from Cork City Council for a €1 billion mixed used development as part of the regeneration of the city's docklands.

Details of the Atlantic Quarter project, which will create 4,800 jobs, were unveiled yesterday by Howard Holdings chief executive Greg Coughlan, who predicted that construction work would commence later this year and that the entire project would be completed by 2013.

The Atlantic Quarter development will comprise 51,000sq m (550,000sq ft) of office space, an event and conference centre capable of holding 5,300 people, a 205-room four-star hotel, and cafes, restaurants, bars and shops on an 11-acre site between Centre Park Road and Monahan Road.

The project will also involve the construction of three plectrum shaped towers - one of 30 storeys, one of 20 storeys and one of 10 storeys - at the eastern end of the rectangular site. They will contain 575 residential units catering for 1,600 residents.

Mr Coughlan said those residential units will include a range of traditional house types, including family-sized units, which will ensure a diverse community of singles, couples and families will reside in the Atlantic Quarter.

The project will also involve the construction of a new single span bridge linking the Lower Glanmire Road at Tivoli with the south docklands, which will open up to allow maritime traffic continue up the River Lee into the heart of the city.

Mr Coughlan said the bridge was essential for the project to proceed, and while Howard Holdings would design the structure its €80 million cost would be paid for by the State, and he was confident it would receive Government backing.

The new bridge will draw through-traffic away from both the city centre and the main docklands community. The project will also involve the improvement of roads as well as the provision of a path network which will encourage pedestrian and bicycle usage.

The project will be serviced by a public transport system, and Cork City Council had assured Howard Holdings that whatever system is chosen - a guided bus or a Luas type tram system - it will be completed by 2013 to service the area, Mr Coughlan said.

He said he expected the arena, which will be operated by event managers Live Nation, to be completed and operational by the end of 2010.

Howard Holdings is close to concluding a deal with the Hilton Group to operate the four-star hotel.

The project, which will see more than 2,000 jobs created during construction, will create some 2,200 underground car parking spaces in a double basement spread out over the entire site, to be available to workers, residents and shoppers.

The project was officially launched in Howard Holdings's highly successful City Quarter development on Lapp's Quay by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin, and was warmly welcomed by civic and business figures in the city.

Cork city manager Joe Gavin said Cork City Council had set out a vision for the area in its Docklands Development Strategy and Howard Holdings had clearly taken the principles of that strategy into account in designing the project.

"The project represents a huge vote of confidence in Cork and the docklands and the inclusion of a conference/events centre with an audience capacity of over 5,000 people is very welcome - it's something the council has pursued and is contributing to its capital cost."