CBA wishes to highlight this very positive article which argues that Cork is in the process of being transformed into a real rival to the capital

I was in Cork last Friday to speak to the DPS Group, the engineering and project management specialists, and I took the opportunity to invite a group to discuss the issues affecting property and construction in the city.

My experts were Aiden O’Dwyer, director of DPS Group’s operations in Cork, Isobel O’Regan, commercial director with Savills, and Dr Brian Turner, economics lecturer at UCC.  I soon learned that Cork is approaching a ‘tipping point’ to a new and exciting, self-sustaining scale.

There is a wave of property and infrastructural development in the city, which, if handled correctly, can transform Cork as a place in which to live and work. The most important of these is the relocation of the port of Cork from the city centre. Roll on-roll off (RORO) ferries are due to join the passenger ferries at a new port at Ringaskiddy. This opens up exciting development sites for offices and apartments on both sides of the river – similar to the Dublin docklands.

Prime property is in demand and John Cleary’s office scheme at 1 Albert Quay saw 16,250 sq m (175,000 sq ft) let at final rents approaching €296 per sq m, and the investment sold to Green REIT. Cleary is due on site next month at City Gate Plaza, Mahon, an office scheme of 25,000 sq m (270,000 sq ft). Isobel O’Regan advised that prime city rents are now at €323 per sq m.

Cleary is also close to completing The Capitol, a 10,000 sq m (108,000 sq ft) retail and office scheme on Grand Parade, where three quarters of the space is pre-let. O’Callaghan Properties are awaiting planning permission for an office scheme of 32,000 sq m (345,000 sq ft) at Albert Quay, and intend to go on site this year.

Other schemes include Kent Station, a joint venture between BAM and Clarendon Properties, on a 2.5 hectare site. CIE sold the ‘air rights’ for a 10pc share of the income. The scheme, to provide offices, apartments and a hotel, is now being master-planned. O’Flynn Construction have just announced that they are to build 184 houses in an €80m investment.

Read more: Retail recovery starting to take hold outside Dublin

My group felt this is a crucial time to get planning, infrastructure and ‘joined-up thinking’ right. Everyone identified the two major infrastructural blockages in Cork as the Dunkettle roundabout and the N28 (Cork to Ringaskiddy) road. The Dunkettle roundabout is adding 15 minutes each way to journeys into the commercial area of Little Island.

Aiden O’Dwyer pointed out that with a lot of heavy pharma business and future pharma infrastructure to be developed around Ringaskiddy, better access is needed to open up sites. It was noted that the N28 runs through Housing Minister Simon Coveney’s constituency, and that his possible elevation to Taoiseach would do no harm to the prospects of getting the new route built.

However, O’Dwyer cautioned that the current Dunkettle roundabout configuration is relatively new infrastructure, which underlines how infrastructural planning has to be got right, first time, for this next burst of development.

Cork is very strong in the pharma and IT sectors and Apple, and others, are currently investing heavily. O’Dwyer said these sectors are watching the ‘Trump factor’ carefully, as any clampdown could have a big effect. There is a potential short-term wave of development to get projects to the stage where it wouldn’t make sense to stop them. Brexit is an uncertainty factor, but more so in agriculture, where Kerry Group and Dairygold are big players in the region.

Brian Turner pointed to reduced air connectivity as a problem, and all agreed that the old Cork airport terminal should be leased on soft terms to a low-cost operator. Norwegian Airlines’ new flights to the US were welcomed, although there will be more flights from Shannon than Cork.

My contributors praised the Tyndall ICT research centre and the Ignite business innovation programmes attached to UCC, which are seen as the way to a future that isn’t overly reliant on FDI. Cork is at the dawn of a new era, which must be managed skilfully.

As Isobel O’Regan concluded: “Cork has much to offer, and is growing fast as a European scale city.”

copy from Irish Independant

CBA Welcomes New Zurich route From Cork Airport

                     SWISS plans new Cork –  Zurich route

Swiss international Air Lines ( SWISS) will launch a new seasonal service between Cork and Zurich this summer. The Airline will operate a weekly service from Cork from June and August. SWISS plans to operate a selection of its new non-stop Cork services with its short -and medium-haul fleet,among them its advanced new Bombardier C Series 100 twinjet.SWISS was the first airline in the world to operate this newly- developed aircraft. It sets new industry benchmarks in inflight comfort, innovation and technology,so this summer SWISS passengers can sit back, relax and look forward to their alpine getaway.

Andreas Koster, senior director sales UK,Ireland,Iceland said ” We are delighted to be offering a new seasonal service from Southern Ireland and hope the introduction of this service will provide our customers with convenient and an affordable way to visit the many beautiful regions of Switzerland during the summer season.

Welcoming Swiss, a new airline to the region, Niall MacCarthy, Managing Director at Cork Airport said: “We are delighted that Swiss has come onboard as our newest partner and we have been working with them for some time to secure the new route for the south of Ireland. We believe that the route has great potential from both an outbound as well as an inbound market. Switzerland has been a target market of ours, primarily due to its close business and pharmaceutical connections with the region. But also, we have the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, both right on our doorstep.

“The Swiss capital has plenty to offer those flying from Cork; Munster outbound tourists can take in the city and nearby alpine sights. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with yet another new airline starting operations in Cork in 2017”.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland. The alpine epicentre for Swiss business and tourism offers passengers some of the best chocolate and timepieces in the world. From a business perspective, Switzerland currently imports 5.5% of all Irish exports annually.

Commenting CBA Chief Executive said ” This is another exciting route option from Cork Airport and it adds to the many positive announcements from Cork Airport over the past year. Niall McCarthy and his team are to be congratulated for not alone continuing to develop new routes but steadily increasing the capacity on existing services”

Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents Association said: “We look forward to working with Cork Airport in making this new service a resounding success. Swiss tourists will be able to enjoy the rugged beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland’s Ancient East, with both journeys beginning in Cork.

“Likewise, we encourage the people of the South of Ireland to support Swiss colleagues when planning business and leisure travel to Switzerland”, he continued.

Swiss International Air, Switzerland’s national carrier, is part of the Lufthansa Group and is also a member of Star Alliance, the world’s biggest airline grouping. The partnership is a further boost to the steady increase in capacity and routes that Cork Airport, the gateway to the South of Ireland is providing to passengers.