OK, firstly I must commend Malec on his extensive photographic tour of some of the new developments around the City. That sort of thing, along with the heartfelt comments from RepublicofCork are what this thread needs to keep it lively and interesting.
With regard to RepublicofCork's comments, I don't know if I entirely agree with all of the points made. I'd agree that there seems to be certain very high profile cases where the advice of planners (both at CIty Council and ABP) has been completely ignored by the Manager. My own pet project, City Square/Lady's Well in Blackpool is a case in point. However, I think it is to go a bit far to suggest that because a decision was taken which was counter to the position you would take (or took), that there is wide spread corruption going on involving City Council and developers. I'm afraid I simply don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories and the demonising of developers as a group.
Cork is a merchant city and the vast, vast majority of what is now the historic stock of buildings which we should rightly protect were built by merchants/landowners or what we would now call developers. Developers (although it may not seem like it) have a limited budget with which to construct a building. They have no wish to get involved in lengthy, drawn out negotiations with planning authorities and they generally have no wish to disturb local residents. For that reason, most major projects in the city are of a reasonable standard when they reach Navigation House. Some are excellent and others are poor. To be fair, the majority of the rubbish is weeded out pretty fast. For example, the early proposals for the Capital Cinema site and the Cornmarket Centre site. What we're left with are solid, decent, mostly well designed buildings which add to an area. Whether you love them architecturally or not is not the point. You either like it or you don't: some love the new Carrolls Quay apartments, others don't. Some people (God help them) actually like the Victoria Cross apartments, others do not. I would argue that Victoria Cross was a bad mistake by planners, but I would not suggest that it was part of some conspiracy to scar that part of the City. Nobody needs the hassle of CSD, who quite reasonably, are on guard against other developments in the area.
Republic asks the question as to whether we are trying to "reinvent the city like Bristol or Newcastle or Barcelona?". And thats that problem: we hold up cities such as Bristol as some sort of utopia for architects everywhere despite the fact that there has been some terrible buildings constructed in these cities in the past few years. Not every single building in these cities are worldclass. Some are excellent, some are poor, most are average. Don't get me wrong, in our planning we should always strive for high quality, but we should not have unreasonably high expectations!
As for the 50/51 Popes Quay situation, there should be no railings there. Full stop. Even the planners agree on that. I'm not particularly bothered who "owns" the land. I'd suggest that it is not of much recreational use to the City, the most you could do is site a park bench there! Its use is as an open space in which to display the superb Civic Thrust building. I'd suggest we will see the unauthorised railings removed in the near future.
As for Jury's, its a very fine development. Exponentially better than its predecessor and will provide a pleasant vista heading west from the City Centre.