Active and viable long-term uses are envisaged for four large-scale derelict buildings in Cork city center which have been approved for compulsory acquisition by the City Council.
Emphasis will be on ensuring that the ground floors at numbers 62 to 65 North Main St have active day and evening uses, and considering the site for residential development, the Services Manager of the board in its operations management, David Joyce, said last night.
Any development brief for the site will need to include this mix of residences combined with active day and night use, Joyce said. How this will be delivered has yet to be decided and it will take time given the various legal procedures that now need to be followed, he added.
The council can embark on a development bidding process – inviting applications from potential development partners – or it can choose to sell the properties on the open market, with specific terms attached that would set time frames within which site development must take place.
Whichever option is chosen, Joyce said he expects significant interest in the properties, given their location on the historic spine of the city:
He also insisted that all pending derelict site levies on the buildings, and all costs incurred by the city to make the buildings safe over the past few years, will be recovered in the next stage of the process. , which will include devolution of properties to council ownership and a market valuation.
The evaluation can also be disputed, which could lead to an arbitration process.
His comments came after An Bord Pleanála gave consent to the council’s forced acquisition of the buildings at 62, 63, 64 and 65 North Main St, which had come to symbolize the scourge of abandonment after the partial collapse of No. 63 in 2019.
The move had been contested. However, the planning council said that in each case it had taken into account the neglected, unsightly and objectionable condition of the buildings.
It considered that each of the sites significantly impaired the amenity and appearance of the land in the vicinity, that it considered each of the structures to be in a ruinous and dangerous state, and therefore that each corresponded to the definition of an abandoned site as defined in section 3 of the Abandoned Sites Act 1990.
Objections to the purchase order (CPO) on each of the buildings “cannot be upheld”, the council said.
Last December, council approved the CPO of two derelict properties on Barrack St with ties to the same owners of the properties on North Main St.
There are currently 95 sites listed in the city’s Abandoned Sites Registry.