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Cork hotel to be Ireland’s tallest building

Custom House Quay

An Bord Pleanála grants planning permission for 34-storey scheme

An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission for the €140m Custom House Quay development in Cork city, which will include the country’s tallest building. Approval was given subject to 23 conditions.

Tower Holdings, the developer of the former Port of Cork site, welcomed the decision. The development will include a 34-storey hotel tower, 25 serviced suites, and a range of commercial uses, including retail, office, food and beverage, distillery, and tourism and leisure, as well as a new maritime culture and heritage offering.

A Landmark development

A spokesperson for Tower Holdings Group said the developer welcomed the decision of An Bord Pleanála to uphold planning permission for the proposed mixed-use development at the old Port of Cork site on Custom House Quay.

“Today’s decision confirms Cork City Council’s previous approval for the landmark development, which will provide a focal point for the redevelopment of the city docklands.”

The hotel will offer spa, swimming pool and gym facilities, incorporating and preserving the old Custom House. It will also feature a sky bar and restaurant at the top of the building, where visitors can enjoy locally produced cuisine while taking in panoramic views of Cork city.

Tower Holdings plans to open the site’s historic bonded warehouses for public access for the first time and include an interactive visitors centre representing Cork’s rich maritime heritage as a port.

 

Cultural features

Kevin O’Sullivan, CEO, Tower Holdings Group, said, “We are delighted with this decision from An Bord Pleanála to uphold the previous permission from Cork City Council. We assembled one of the best design teams in the world, all of whom worked tirelessly to get this scheme right, and I would like to sincerely thank them for all their efforts. The mixed-use and cultural aspect of the scheme was extremely important to us and the City Council alike, ensuring extensive public realm space and a maritime visitor attraction. Another key aspect in making the scheme a commercial success is the continuation of maritime activities on the river, ensuring the quays and jetties remain fully accessible and utilised by passenger cruise vessels, water-based transport/tourism and leisure craft to access the site and the city centre by river. I believe this project will add great value to the city and boost the docklands regeneration. I have always believed in a strong future for Cork, and we are proud to be part of this future as the world recovers from the pandemic.”

Catalyst for regeneration

Marco Gamini, the lead architect for the project for Gensler, said, “Gensler and the wider project design team are delighted by An Bord Pleanala’s decision to grant planning permission for the Custom House Quay scheme.  The restoration and transformation of this magnificent site at the heart of the city’s future will be a catalyst for further regeneration of the docklands district. The slender sculpted tower will form a contemporary new piece to complement the much loved historic composition, bringing new purpose and dynamism to the River Lee, as well as provide the city with a beacon to the future. We look forward to delivering this tremendous project in collaboration with the whole team.”

Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework

Conor Lee, Director of Operations, Tower Holdings in Ireland, said, “We fully engaged with the planning authorities along every step of the way in this lengthy process to ensure the preservation of existing structures, respecting the heritage and maritime history of the site while sensitively blending the old with the new. The scheme is in line with the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework, which includes a specific focus on the regeneration of Cork’s brownfield docklands area. We have yet to fully examine all the planning conditions and certain points of detail to establish their effect on the scheme before commencing future engagement with potential occupiers, which in turn will dictate a start date for the project.”