The proposed building would be flanked by two major existing office sites, One Albert Quay and Navigation Square, and adjacent to the 17-storey Elysian building.
A ‘Build-to-Rent’ €90m scheme of 201 apartments is set to go for fast-track planning permission shortly via An Bord Pleanala at the site of the former Sextant pub and Carey Tool Hire at the corner of Albert Quay and Albert Street.
It is to be constructed by John Cleary Developments (JCD) to accommodate office workers in the city’s burgeoning new docks and quayside developments.
The development will meet some of the built-up and expected further residential rental demand in the city centre, at expected rents of up to and over €2,000 a month for two-bed apartments, according to market sources.
Residential demand has surged with expanding office space, plus thousands of extra jobs due at schemes like JCD’s €125m office development Penrose Dock, which is under advancing construction on the north quays, at Navigation Square and Horgan’s Quay.
Underpinning delivery expectations for the 25-storey apartment tower at the Careys/Sextant site is the track record of the developers, JCD, whose previous office developments in Cork accommodate 4,500 workers.
Now, they are seeking to provide residential accommodation also, primarily for workers in the tech sector.
The latest proposal for 200 apartments includes a building with a 25th storey residents’ lounge, gym, 62 double basement car spaces, 400 bike slots, and relocated bar/restaurant in a protected structure which was a former railway ticket office.
It has been welcomed by Cork Chamber of Commerce and Tánaiste Simon Coveney as meeting demand for city centre high-quality accommodation, in a fast-growing city.
The design is by architects Henry J Lyons, with stepped blocks of nine and 12 storeys linking to the 25-storey tower by a plaza connecting footfall from One Albert Quay, the Elysian and O’Callaghan Properties sizeable, three-block Navigation Square.
The apartment blocks and tower echo some details from JCD’s six-to eight-storey Penrose Dock offices, with input from London-based Urban Initiatives Studio and tall buildings specialist Richard Coleman from CityDesigner, while Cork-based conservation architects JCA will oversee the repurposing of the old railway terminus/ticketing office as the scheme’s third element.
The proposal envisages demolition of the Sextant bar on the quay’s corner facing the river, Port of Cork site where plans are due to lodge next month for a 30-plus mixed-use tower, and One Albert Quay, a 60m JCD office development, now fully occupied.
The Sextant bar, which had been leased out, closed in February of this year, after JCD bought the site from the Carey family who have traded here for 50 years, in an off-market deal thought be have been in excess of €7 million.
The as-yet-unnamed proposal now going to the An Bord Pleanala comprises 95 one-bed apartments, 102 two-beds and four three-bed units, and comes as a higher density apartment application is being considered for the HQ/Horgan’s Quay six-acre hotel, office and apartment site by Kent rail station.
There is a current planning grant for 230 apartments there, in buildings by Reddy Architects in blocks up to eleven storeys, but permission is sought now for up to 300 apartments. The new, wedge-shaped Dean Hotel is under advanced construction there.
John Cleary, CEO of JCD Group said they were “very excited to be progressing this proposed residential scheme given the constant feedback we are receiving from our multinational clients in relation to their concerns at the lack of suitable residential accommodation available for their employees in the city centre.
“It’s been almost 12 years since the last new city centre apartment scheme of scale was completed in Cork city, and given the ongoing momentum we are witnessing in the office sector, should the residential schemes not be brought forward, the ongoing development of the city centre will be compromised.”
He added: “We have worked closely with the design team over the past number of months and believe that the integration and renovation of the protected buildings in conjunction with the public plaza and quality design of the apartment building will be a real positive addition to the city.
“It will also encourage vibrancy out of office hours and create a new community feel to the area. We really believe that Cork has an opportunity to undergo a real transformation into a modern European city, where people are encouraged to work, live, socialise and shop in the city centre.”
Conor Healy, Chief Executive of Cork Chamber of Commerce said that the delivery of new apartments in Cork city was “the number-one priority for business right now and so we very much welcome this high-quality proposal for more than 200 new rental units.
“Cork’s docklands is in the midst of a total transformation and will soon be home to thousands of new jobs. As we lay the foundations of a growing Cork city it is essential that attractive accommodation, such as this, is planned close to where people work.
“Not only is city centre living, with an emphasis on design, in high demand among new arrivals into Cork, but achieving high-density builds is also important to ensure the vibrancy of new neighbourhoods, as well as to enable more people to commute to work by foot, by bike and by public transport.
“We hope that this proposal will be the first of many more apartment projects in Cork as our city’s skyline continues to evolve,” said the Chamber CE.
Noting Government 2040 development plans to grow Cork city, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney TD said that “as well as quality jobs, we are going to need to see ambitious and quality residential developments.
“This development is amongst the most exciting on a prime site in the heart of the city. The Government’s Project Ireland 2040 plan is based on the taxpayer investing in quality infrastructure and public transport so that private developers follow through with quality projects like this.
“I look forward to seeing this building, just like Cork, on the rise.”