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4,000-seater events centre aims to lure biggest stars
By Eoin English
Thursday, July 22, 2010
AN EVENTS centre, larger than the main hall of Dublinâ€™s RDS, is to be built in Cork city within months.
The ARC Event Centre will be built in the cityâ€™s docklands and will open in September with a Stars Wars convention, its backers confirmed last night.
They also said several other high-profile events including Toys 4 Big Boys, Cork On Ice and the Ideal Homes Exhibition have also been confirmed for the venue.
The long-awaited facility, which the city has been trying to secure for several years, will be housed in one of the worldâ€™s most sophisticated temporary structures â€” The Veldeman TFS (Tensile Frame Structure).
It will offer all of the safety, comfort and finishing of a permanent building including air conditioning and heating. It will be constructed within weeks on the Live at the Marquee site â€” the site of the cityâ€™s proposed permanent events centre â€” which already has planning permission for a 5,000 capacity venue.
Discussions are under way with Cork City Council to ensure that the new venue meets relevant planning requirements.
The ARC measures 40,000 square feet (3, 716sq m), is larger than the main hall of the RDS and is capable of seating up to 4,000 people for a concert. But it is flexible enough to host the largest consumer and business exhibitions. It will be located on a 10-acre site, with parking, and is just one kilometre from City Hall.
The project is backed by Clowater Investments Ltd, SDL Exhibitions Ltd, a leading exhibition company, and Bill Cremin of Cool Runnings Entertainment, the company behind the Cork On Ice event.
Clowaterâ€™s Jason Clerkin said the ARCâ€™s arrival is fantastic news for the city and Munster.
"The success of the â€˜Live at the Marqueeâ€™ series has shown the appetite that exists in Munster for an event centre," he said.
"While this version of the ARC is a semi-permanent structure, weâ€™re committed to developing a permanent structure on the same site, ensuring that Corkâ€™s docklands remain the home for entertainment in the city."
ARC general manager Bill Cremin said the facility represents a fantastic opportunity to add to the cultural, social and economic life of the city.
"We now have a venue that can attract the biggest shows and stars to Cork and weâ€™re confident that the centre will prove a huge hit with the public," he said.
SDL Exhibitionsâ€™s Sean Lemass said he is confident the venue will be a huge hit.
"We have already confirmed a number of high profile events for the centre, including Toys 4 Big Boys, Cork On Ice and the Ideal Homes Exhibition and we are inundated with inquiries from other exhibitors who previously were restricted to Dublin only," he said.