It’s the biggest regeneration project in the country.
The announcement of €405 million in funding for regeneration projects in Cork is the largest investment by the public sector in Cork City in the history of the state, setting Cork on course to become a city of international scale.
Of course, the projects will make Cork more attractive as a place to visit and invest in, but the real winners are the people who live here.
“The Cork City Docklands regeneration will provide jobs and homes to tens of thousands of people and make Cork a world-class city to live and work in – supporting the Government’s ambition to develop the city as a true counterbalance to Dublin.” said Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Joe Kavanagh.
Cork City Council CE, Ann Doherty said the Docklands project would be a case study in sustainable compact living and working: “Here we are creating a new quarter that is built for the future: a place where people want to live, work and play – because of its job opportunities, community, green spaces and reliable public transport.” Ms Doherty said.
“Today’s government funding announcement will also bring further certainty to the private sector who are demonstrating huge confidence in Cork City Docklands. To make our vision a reality, Cork City Council will be working with a range of partners to deliver services such as schools, health services, community and cultural facilities”.
Here are six cool projects that will share in the funding:
1. An ‘iconic’ City Library and roof garden
The existing Cork City Library, which is too small to achieve the potential for a library in a UNESCO Learning City will be redeveloped into an iconic 7,700 square metre building that embraces its riverside location.
A 1,600sqm Sanctuary Garden on the library’s rooftop has also been proposed and will be accessible to all through library membership.
2. A major makeover for Bishop Lucey Park
The URDF support for the Grand Parade Quarter will finally deliver the funding needed to develop Bishop Lucey Park, which was subject of an international architectural competition in 2019 / 2020.
Last summer, Cork City Council and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) revealed the winning architectural design for the redevelopment was by Belfast firm Hall McKnight Architects, who created a brand new look for the area, complete with a viewing tower, a pavilion and a bridge spanning across the Medieval Wall from the park to the Grand Parade.
The design would see some of the park’s surrounding walls removed, opening up the space on both sides.
Tuckey Street and South Main Street will also be improved with the focus on providing a mix of cultural activity, job creation and housing.
3. A new boardwalk with Cathedral views
The public realm works on the Grand Parade will include an accessible public plaza and boardwalk with a new public space facing the sun on the north bank.
A hard surface civic space on the river will act as a counterpoint to Bishop Lucey Park, with open green space to the north of the site and views of key signature buildings of Cork City, including St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral and Elizabeth Fort.
4. A ‘town within a city’ at Cork Docklands
Funding to the tune of €353.40m has been earmarked for Cork City Docklands as part of a plan to unlock the area’s potential to develop as a vibrant, top-class district. Ultimately, the plan is to build a ‘town within a city’ housing approximately 20,000 people and 29,000 jobs.
Included in the plans is the development of Marina Park, the provision of a public realm space at the Quays, and green spaces for sports and recreation.
This latest announcement builds on considerable private investment evident in the Docklands, including Navigation Square, Penrose Dock and Horgan’s Quay, along with plans submitted to develop the Port of Cork site to include a hotel and a maritime museum. Glenveagh Homes has submitted plans to develop over 1,000 residential units in the former Ford Distribution Site.
5. Sustainable transport
According to Cork City Council, the target is that up to 80% of all movement in the Docklands will be by foot, bicycle or public transport. The funding will enhance the walking and cycling routes, while providing ease of access to public transport, ultimately accommodating the light rail plans for Cork.
Kent Station will act as a transport hub for national rail, suburban rail and bus/ light rail.
6. Mallow Castle Visitor Destination Development
A design team will be appointed to progress the design and business case for the development of a visitor destination development at Mallow Castle as part of a €4.7m investment set to revitalise the town.
An overall public realm plan will also be developed for Davis Street and key laneways to “animate and create an attractive, vibrant and welcoming sense of place in Mallow Town Centre.
The funding will also provide for a pilot retail/commercial incubator scheme to incentivise the establishment of new independent retailers and offices in Mallow town centre.