AN iconic tower up to 22 storeys high is one of four soaring landmark buildings proposed in a blueprint that will transform Cork’s south docks into one of Europe’s top waterfront urban quarters.
If built tomorrow, the structure, which has been given the name Iconis Tower as a working title, would be the tallest building in Ireland. A site at the Marina has been identified for it. The other towers have been earmarked for sites on:
Centre Park Road.
The South Docks Quayside.
Together, they would attract international attention to the rejuvenated docks, which will have a Manhattan skyline-style design.
The tower plans are among dozens of exciting recommendations in the long-awaited draft south docks local area plan (LAP) , compiled by consultants Brady Shipman Martin. It will be presented to city councillors on Monday.
It provides the framework for the multi-billion-euro regeneration of the south docks into a high-density urban quarter over the next two decades.
With a LAP already in place for the north docks area, this is the final piece in the jigsaw to guide the redevelopment of the entire docklands region.
The south docks LAP sets a target population of 20,000 and a working population of 25,000 in the area by 2027.
Up to 10,000 homes will be built, which is two-and-a-half times the size of the city’s island area. Most will be built with their main aspects facing south to capitalise on solar energy.
The LAP sets out detailed guidelines for the style and type of apartments. “Confetti-type” residential design, which expresses building uses, will be encouraged. City planners want 30% of the apartments set aside as family units, with a minimum floor area of 90 square metres, 15% set aside for one bedroom units, and 20% of zoned land set aside for part five social and affordable housing.
Between 10% and 14% of space will be set aside for public open space, parks and a boardwalk.
Tens of thousands of square feet of office space, a third-level campus, one secondary and two primary schools, medical facilities, and childcare facilities are also proposed.
The plan calls for preservation plans for the Ford’s complex and the Customs House Quay area.
The Bonded Warehouse building could be converted for interactive uses like galleries, shops and cafes.
And the Odlum’s Building on the south docks should be developed as a flagship cultural project.
At least two bridges should be built — one near the Skew Bridge and one at Water Street — to link the study area to the north docks. A third bridge at Mill Road is under consideration.
Flood protection measures, including raising ground levels, and an early warning system, will be needed to protect the flood-prone area.
However, three Seveso sites (where hazardous material is stored) could affect redevelopment in certain areas, the plan warns.
Topaz Energy, the National Oil Reserves Agency, and Gouldings Fertilizers — all of which have exclusion zones — will prevent the development of high-density housing.
“Their relocation is to be encouraged,” the plan says.
The Port of Cork’s activities will also have to be moved downstream.
Cllr Damian Wallace (FF), chairman of the council’s Docklands Policy Committee, welcomed the LAP.
“Our next task is to prepare a business implementation plan to ensure it can be delivered,” he said.
“Almost €406 million will be needed to deliver key infrastructure. The council is hopeful that a lot of this will be recouped from development charges.”
Cllr Dara Murphy (FG) also welcomed changes suggested to make the bridges open span to ensure boat access up to the city centre.
“This development will change the focus of our city. Now it’s over to the private sector to play their part and come forward with proposals,” he said.