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DEVELOPMENT worth €160 million, spanning eight buildings and to include 237 apartments, a 136-bed hotel, 400,000 sq ft of offices and an acre of open plaza is coming on track on Cork city’s Horgan’s Quay.

The mixed-use development is likely to take between three and five years to deliver and is being branded ‘HQ’, picking up on the location’s initials.

It finally lodged for planning permission this week, almost a year after a development deal was agreed between CIÉ and joint purchasers, the major Irish property company the Clarendon Group and BAM Ireland. CIÉ will be entitled to 10% of the income from the development, under the terms of the deal negotiated by agents Lisney on a 300-year lease.

The quay-side development, on six acres at the city end of the 17-acre Horgans Quay rail station site (which also is currently being redeveloped by CIE,) is being hailed as a significant new urban quarter for the southern city, and a boon for development on the Lee’s north quays.

HQ will provide a hotel close to rail and bus links and to the city centre, as well as offices for FDI companies, plus almost 240 apartments which will be available to rent only, to meet backed-up demand from firms locating employees into the Cork region.

It has been welcomed by Government Minister Simon Coveney, by the Chamber of Commerce and by CIE’s Niall Grogan, who said “not only will this development generate an income stream which will support the provision of public transport, but it will also benefit residents and businesses directly from proximity to public transport services.”

The planning application reveals the scale of the development which has 160 metres frontage to Horgans Quay, looking south over the River Lee, and which was worked on by three firms of architects as part of a large design team.

It proposes eight buildings, with three office blocks of six to eight floors totalling over 400,000 sq ft of offices, a 136-bed hotel with rooftop restaurant facing Lower Glanmire Road, and four blocks of apartments, some up to 11 storeys tall, totalling almost 240 units, built for the private rental market and likely to rent for over €1,500 a month each.

The development, likely to be done on a phased basis, may see up to 450 construction jobs, with enough offices being built for 5,000 workers. It faces across the Lee to where O’Callaghan Properties and BAM are on site preparing for the start of the 310,000 sq ft office development at Navigation House on Albert Quay, across four buildings on 2.25 acres.

The Horgan’s Quay/HQ project includes retail, restaurant, a creche and leisure uses, and conservation of industrial rail buildings such as the Station House, the Carriage Shed, and a former Goods Shed, as well as 5,000 sq metres of new public realm and walkways linking the buildings and Kent Station, called the Southern Plaza, which will open towards the River Lee and campshires/wharfs across the road, and which are owned by Port of Cork.

Behind the plans are BAM, currently employing 1,000 people across a number of Cork building sites, and Clarendon Properties, with over 30 years Irish and international development and investment history, headed by Paddy McKillen and Tony Leonard.

Clarendon Properties has a number of key Cork retail investment properties, and is expected to lodge for redevelopment of the Wilton Shopping Centre later this year, with a major Penneys expansion plus possible cinema.

Tony Leonard, MD Clarendon, described HQ as “an ambitious and most exciting scheme. What was previously unused industrial land will be transformed into a new Urban Quarter: the Horgan’s Quay scheme is key to unlocking the future development of the Cork City Docks.” He added that the provision of hundreds of new apartments was key to attracting new office tenants to the city.

BAM CEO Theo Cullinane said it would be a catalyst for the city quarter, “in addition to opening up an old industrial area of the city to habitable and public friendly space and enhancing the River Lee as a public amenity, this investment is creating much needed residential and office space and, indeed, jobs for Cork.”

Conor Healy, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce welcomed the delivery of high quality residential accommodation and offices and said that the mixed-use development in the heart of the city “will enhance Cork’s growing reputation as a rapidly developing, forward looking city region with unlimited capacity and potential.

“Cork is experiencing significant interest from both FDI and indigenous markets in exciting new, urban-based office developments which will create high quality sustainable jobs and we need to capitalise on that opportunity.”

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Simon Coveney TD added: “The proposed urban-quarter development at Horgan’s Quay has the potential to revitalise a substantial area of Cork’s city centre, providing much-welcome residential, commercial and leisure facilities.

“Projects such as these are vital in promoting and enhancing Cork’s growing reputation as a hub for business and enterprise,” he stated.

Irish Examiner