Tuesday 2 October 2007

Plans ready for €2bn Cork docklands development

Plans for the €2 billion development of Cork's docklands are to be lodged within weeks in one of the largest single applications in the history of the State.

The development will include two hotels, 600,000 square feet of office space and a 30-storey residential tower. It will also include an 'iconic building' - likely to house a restaurant run by a world-renowned chef such as Richard Corrigan or Gordon Ramsay. Provisions have also been made for a metro system.

Howard Holdings chief executive, Greg Coughlan said his firm has engaged London-based architecture firm, Foster and Partners - which is involved in the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in New York - to work on the project. Work is to begin at the end of next year.

Coughlan said the biggest objection to the development of the docklands was the relocation of the Port of Cork and the vacation of the two Seveso sites - the Topaz and Gouldings' sites in Centre Park Road.

The Port of Cork is demanding a €60-€65 million relocation package to leave the city centre quays, but Mr Coughlan said it needed to vacate quickly for the docklands project to move forward. He said that all parties involved needed to sit down together and work out a solution. He did not rule out Howard Holdings contributing to the relocation costs for the port.

Meanwhile, the council has made a submission to government seeking the designation of the docklands for targeted tax incentives in the December budget.

The incentives sought include tax breaks for relocating the Seveso sites, incentives for dealing with contaminated land, incentives for attracting foreign investment, the provision of public infrastructure by the private sector, grant aid for owner occupiers and tax breaks to provide premises for biopharma, IT, financial services and third and fourth level R&D interests.

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