18 December 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
It was confirmed today that planning permission has been granted by An Bord Pleanála to JCD Group, for the €50 million redevelopment of the iconic Capitol cinema and associated sites fronting both St. Patrick’s Street and the Grand Parade in the heart of Cork city centre. The project will consist of close to 100,000 sq. ft. of high end retail space, Gold LEED office space and a food innovation area. It is estimated that the development could create up to 1,000 direct and indirect new jobs in the city centre.
The scheme which was approved by Cork City Council in July was appealed and subsequently got delayed by a number of months. However, today marks a significant step forward and work on the site will commence in January with a view to being substantially complete by December 2016.
Speaking on the announcement John Cleary, Managing Director of JCD Group expressed his satisfaction, “We are really pleased with this positive decision and excited that we can now proceed. Even though the plans have been slightly modified, they are very similar to the original design that was approved by Cork City Council. The detailed design has been completed and construction work will commence in January. As a Cork based company, we realise the history and significance of The Capitol as a location and the important role that the development will play in the rejuvenation of that part of the city. We are in detailed negotiations with a number of premium international retailers who have expressed a keen interest in locating in the city centre. The Capitol will make the city centre an even more attractive destination for shoppers and visitors alike and will be a catalyst for further investment in the city.”
The redevelopment is a major opportunity to bring premium retail names to the city centre. An economic impact report produced by DKM Economic Consultants which was submitted as part of the appeal process has estimated that the project will generate approximately 1,000 jobs once fully occupied in just over 12 months’ time. The report also estimates that it will contribute €92 million to GDP and generate Exchequer revenue in the region of €21 million in a typical year. It will also support up to 200 construction jobs in Cork in 2016.
A primary focus for JCD once construction begins is minimal disruption to market traders, business owners and the public. With this in mind, a comprehensive project team is in place to liaise with local business owners in an effort to keep any potential disruption to a minimum. Speaking about the support they have received, John Cleary says “We have been hugely encouraged by the positive reaction to the development and the level of support from the public, market traders and adjoining business owners. This project will deliver much needed new employment and increased footfall to the city centre which will support existing businesses in the city. The development also includes the significant investment to refurbish and reopen the famous Oyster Tavern, which involves the renovation of a protected structure and a premises very well remembered by many Corkonians. We have been working closely with the project architects, Wilson Architecture, to ensure that we deliver a high quality building with minimal disruption and are confident that The Capitol will have a very positive impact on the city and all the businesses located in the vicinity”.
The Capitol, taking its name from the former cinema, is one of the many projects that will transform Cork in 2016/2017. JCD are also the developers of One Albert Quay, the unique Grade A office development which has capacity for up to 1,600 employees in Cork City Centre which started construction in September 2014. The building which is being completed in record time is set to open in March 2016 and already is 85% committed.
Speaking about the announcement today, and the impact it will have, Minister Simon Coveney TD said “This is one of the most significant developments that Cork has seen in decades, and along with the Events Centre has the capacity to transform commercial and retail activity on the western side of the city. It is the latest significant signal that Cork city is on the up and that we can look forward to a very positive and exciting period of growth in the city centre. I want to congratulate all involved for having the vision and determination to make this project happen. I think everyone will be excited to see the transformation of a derelict site in a highly strategic location in the heart of Cork city, into a vibrant modern signature building for retail in Cork”.
CEO of Cork Chamber Conor Healy also commented on the positive news that was released today “Cork is a progressive city and the granting of this planning permission heralds a bright new future for the city. This significant development, which builds on the natural strengths and history of the location, gives Cork a competitive edge which will encourage further innovative developments and investments. Creating a vibrant city centre is key to attracting and retaining business and gives locals and visitors more reasons to enjoy and spend time in Cork.”
A digital walk through of The Capitol project can be seen on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheCapitolCork/