Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby kite » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:03 pm

:mad: Cork’s Custom House Quay,
A Thundering Disgrace.


The Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay was built in 1820 (by prison labour) specifically for use as a Bonded Warehouse. It is one of two such warehouses remaining in the world & the only one that is still being used to fulfill its original function.

It has been a predominant building in Cork since that time and was the focal point of Port activities that consolidated Cork’s prominence as a City and international trading centre.
It is also the oldest building that is left in this City with historical links to Cork’s maritime past & as such is rightly & correctly classified as a listed heritage structure

However through neglect this important structure is in jeopardy.

Due to its prominence for almost 200 years the Bonded Warehouse has externally been well known to the citizens of Cork, however its very purpose has precluded knowledge of the structural beauty of the inside of the building.
The ground floor is constructed of individual barrel vaults
The second floor accessed through 4 stone spiral stairwells – 2 on the North quay and two on the South – opens into vast storage areas with flag stone floors and beautiful brick built vaulted ceilings
The top floor is an open area running the length of the building with a wooden floor and the ancient timber trusses that support the roof.

The Harbour Commissioners were granted a 999 year lease on the whole site at Custom House Quay early in the last century.
In 1918 they granted a 99 year lease on the Bonded Warehouse to Cork Bonded Warehouse. Included in that lease was a provision that, if called upon to do so by the head landlord, the tenant should affect repairs and maintenance to the Bonded Warehouse buildings.
The Harbour Commissioners were later incorporated as the Port of Cork, which ostensibly is a corporation. However closer inspection at Company’s House reveals that its shareholders are the Ministers of Marine & Environment.
It would therefore seem that the ultimate ownership of the Port of Cork is vested in the State.
Curiously though despite the Bonded Warehouse being a listed structure, which by definition should ensure its preservation within Ireland’s architectural heritage, this generation of the State’s custodians seem to be allowing that heritage to slip to the detriment of our future generations.
The external evidence is plain to witness:
• A listed section of the warehouse at the Eastern end was allowed to deteriorate to such a degree that it now no longer exists
• The Linneys on the North quay are no longer there, whilst those on the South quay are almost in a state of collapse.
• It can’t have missed the CEO of the Port of Cork that, in a direct line of sight from the his office window, there is a tree growing out of the SW roof parapet
• The walls, windows, doors and roof display evidence of generations of neglect.

Internally the situation is as bad:
• The roof is leaking and the ingress of water is damaging the wooden flooring, but more dangerously the wooden trusses supporting the roof and therefore the whole buildings integrity.
• The wooden stairwell at the Western end is destroyed by the depth of guano
secreted by generations of birds roosting within the building.

The Port of Cork has a fiduciary duty to its shareholders (ie the Ministers of State & by extension the Irish People) to safeguard & maintain the assets within their remit
Why then is it that these custodians of our heritage have not, in almost 90 years,
exercised their right under the sub-lease & implemented a schedule of dilapidations on their tenants to safeguard & maintain the asset?

Perhaps the intention is that this last remaining structure of Cork’s maritime heritage be allowed to slip into decrepitude so that it can be sacrificed without comment on the altars of short-term financial gain & political expediency, but ONLY if the people of Cork & its City fathers allow them to get away with it by tacitly allowing it to happen.

The Bonded Warehouse has been an important part of our City’s growth & prominent in its architectural landscape for almost 200 years – ask yourself this
‘In 200 years time will our descendants be marveling at the architectural integrity or contribution of most of the junk built in the past 10 years e.g. Victoria Mills, Merchants Quay SC? It’s doubtful – in fact it’s doubtful that any one of them will survive the century.
But unless we safeguard this part of our heritage, and do so now, it’s doubtful that the Bonded Warehouse will last another decade.

Our elected representatives at City Hall have at their disposal the instruments to secure our Heritage; whether they have the conviction & will to instruct their (& by extension our) employee, the un-elected City Manager, to do so will be their abiding testament to this City &. It’s future generations.
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Bonded Warehouse neglect

Postby nimbus 2008 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:30 pm

Thank you Kite. Can you add to what you say at the end about the elected members having the instruments available to sort this scandalous state of affairs?
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby PVC King » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:37 pm

Why then is it that these custodians of our heritage have not, in almost 90 years, exercised their right under the sub-lease & implemented a schedule of dilapidations on their tenants to safeguard & maintain the asset

Have you seen the agreement? It is possible that it makes provision for a schedule of terminal dilapidations at the end of the term but the ability to serve an interim schedule of dilapidations at any time on a 99 year lease would be rare. This would also require the landlord to take action on an interest that will probably deliver little more than a peppercorn. If you feel that this situation requires resolution your best route is probably through Section 58 of the Planning and Development Act (2000) as outlined below:

58.—(1) Each owner and each occupier shall, to the extent consistent with the rights and obligations arising out of their respective interests in a protected structure or a proposed protected structure, ensure that the structure, or any element of it which contributes to its special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest, is not endangered.

(2) The duty imposed by subsection (1) in relation to a proposed protected structure arises at the time the owner or occupier is notified, under section 55 or under Part II, of the proposal to add the structure to the record of protected structures.

(3) Neither of the following shall be considered to be a breach of the duty imposed on each owner and each occupier under this section—

(a) development in respect of which permission under section 34 has been granted;
(b) development consisting only of works of a type which, in a declaration issued under section 57(3) to that owner or occupier, a planning authority has declared would not materially affect the character of the protected structure or any element, referred to in subsection (1) of this section, of that structure.
(4) Any person who, without lawful authority, causes damage to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure shall be guilty of an offence.

(5) Without prejudice to any other defence that may be available, it shall be a good defence in any proceedings for an offence under subsection (4) to prove that the damage to the structure resulted from works which were—

(a) urgently required in order to secure the preservation of the structure or any part of it,
(b) undertaken in good faith solely for the purpose of temporarily safeguarding the structure, and
(c) unlikely to permanently alter the structure or any element of it referred to in subsection (1).


http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/front.html


59.—(1) Where, in the opinion of the planning authority, it is necessary to do so in order to prevent a protected structure situated within its functional area from becoming or continuing to be endangered, the authority shall serve on each person who is the owner or occupier of the protected structure a notice—

(a) specifying the works which the planning authority considers necessary in order to prevent the protected structure from becoming or continuing to be endangered, and
(b) requiring the person on whom the notice is being served to carry out those works within a specified period of not less than 8 weeks from the date the notice comes into effect under section 62.
(2) After serving notice under subsection (1) on a person, a planning authority may—

(a) at its discretion, assist the person in carrying out the works required under the notice, and
(b) provide such assistance in any form it considers appropriate, including advice, financial aid, materials, equipment and the services of the authority's staff.
(3) Any person on whom a notice under subsection (1) has been served may, within 4 weeks from the date of service of the notice, make written representations to the planning authority concerning—

(a) the terms of the notice,
(b) the provision of assistance under subsection (2), and
(c) any other material considerations.
(4) After considering any representations made under subsection (3), the planning authority may confirm, amend or revoke the notice, and shall notify the person who made the representations of its decision.

(5) Particulars of a notice served under this section shall be entered in the register.
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby kite » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:47 pm

PVC King wrote:Have you seen the agreement? It is possible that it makes provision for a schedule of terminal dilapidations at the end of the term but the ability to serve an interim schedule of dilapidations at any time on a 99 year lease would be rare. This would also require the landlord to take action on an interest that will probably deliver little more than a peppercorn. If you feel that this situation requires resolution your best route is probably through Section 58 of the Planning and Development Act (2000) as outlined below:



http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/front.html



Thank you for the info, that will be of immense help.
The wording in the lease is as follows;

you "will (subject as hereinafter mentioned) well and substantially repair cleanse maintain amend and in good and tenantable repair order and condition keep the said premises and all new buildings and works which may at any time during the said time be erected on and all additions made to the said premises and the fixtures therein and the walls fences vaults roads sewers drains and appurtenances thereof with all necessary reparations cleansings and amendments whatsoever (damage by fire excepted) and the said premises so repaired cleansed maintained amended and kept as aforesaid will at the expiration or sooner determination of this demise quietly yield up to the Lessors together with all additions and improvements made thereto in the meantime and all fixtures of every kind in or upon the said premises or which during the said tem1 may be affixed or fastened to or upon the same ..".

What do you make of this PVC King?
Can anything be done to ensure this building survives?
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby PVC King » Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:57 pm

It is pretty standard stuff but places the emphasis on expiration of the term. You would want to look for the ability of the landlord to enter the premises to effect repairs or serve an interim schedule of dilapidations. You are also reliant on the owner spending money on legals for something that will have no material impact in the short term. Service of a S59 notice may galvanise the superior interest owner who may in 2017 be able to un-encumber the reversionary interest and to keep options open that entity may be well advised to seek enforcement of the (fairly loose) repairing covenent to maximise the building value as with all ground leases the real value is the actual building which must be renewed at Open Market Rental Value unlike residential interests. I wouldn't fancy the dilaps liability on that building in 10 years it could be a seven or even eight figure sum.
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby kite » Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:32 pm

PVC King wrote:It is pretty standard stuff but places the emphasis on expiration of the term. You would want to look for the ability of the landlord to enter the premises to effect repairs or serve an interim schedule of dilapidations. You are also reliant on the owner spending money on legals for something that will have no material impact in the short term. Service of a S59 notice may galvanise the superior interest owner who may in 2017 be able to un-encumber the reversionary interest and to keep options open that entity may be well advised to seek enforcement of the (fairly loose) repairing covenent to maximise the building value as with all ground leases the real value is the actual building which must be renewed at Open Market Rental Value unlike residential interests. I wouldn't fancy the dilaps liability on that building in 10 years it could be a seven or even eight figure sum.



The tenant entered negotiations with a third party in 1999 to dispose of the lease which led to bad blood (and a seven year battle in the High Court) between the landlords, a British developer and themselves.
The Landlord (Port of Cork) served the dilapidation schedule on the 24th March 2000 (now withdrawn)

“We now call upon you to comply in full with the above covenant having regard to the terms of the aforementioned letter from Mr. John Power, Building Control Officer, Cork Corporation (now Cork City Council) with particular reference to the south east corner of your premises and the Schedule of Dilapidations dated June 1999 which was served on you from this office.
We require confirmation from you within 14 days of the receipt of this letter that you will immediately take such steps as to remedy the breach of the above detailed covenant”


The POC won the final section of the High Court case 18 months ago and it was hoped the near loss of the Bonded Warehouses would have focused their minds as to the value of this site to Cork and the Country.
Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case as the building is in a state of near collapse.
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby PVC King » Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:03 pm

Interim dilaps cases going to the High Court are extremely rare but the CCC notice no doubt provided prima facia evidence of the lease breach. In this regard service of a S59 notice by CCC would make forfeiture proceedings a lot easier once the real prospect of financial exposure on the part of the lessor could be proven.
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Re: Developments in Cork

Postby Praxiteles » Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:02 pm

kite wrote:The tenant entered negotiations with a third party in 1999 to dispose of the lease which led to bad blood (and a seven year battle in the High Court) between the landlords, a British developer and themselves.
The Landlord (Port of Cork) served the dilapidation schedule on the 24th March 2000 (now withdrawn)

“We now call upon you to comply in full with the above covenant having regard to the terms of the aforementioned letter from Mr. John Power, Building Control Officer, Cork Corporation (now Cork City Council) with particular reference to the south east corner of your premises and the Schedule of Dilapidations dated June 1999 which was served on you from this office.
We require confirmation from you within 14 days of the receipt of this letter that you will immediately take such steps as to remedy the breach of the above detailed covenant”


The POC won the final section of the High Court case 18 months ago and it was hoped the near loss of the Bonded Warehouses would have focused their minds as to the value of this site to Cork and the Country.
Unfortunately this does not seem to be the case as the building is in a state of near collapse.


Can the building survive to the end of the lease term?
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Apr 14, 2007 11:15 am

BTW has anyone any pictures of this location? It always helps to see what we are talking about|
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby Praxiteles » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:01 pm

Here is one view of the bonded warehouse:
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby THE_Chris » Sat Apr 14, 2007 12:38 pm

Oh its those things we're talking about, thought it was something else.

TBH I hate the things :D Now maybe with a re-vamp they might look better but to me, they are some of the ugliest 'old + savable' buildings in Cork.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby kite » Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:29 am

THE_Chris wrote:Oh its those things we're talking about, thought it was something else.

TBH I hate the things :D Now maybe with a re-vamp they might look better but to me, they are some of the ugliest 'old + savable' buildings in Cork.


Doctor’s differ, patients die The_Chris, your view is, well, your view, however the Custom House Quay site is a Listed Heritage building and as such deserves some respect.
Tower Bridge in London is a boring building; Stonehenge should be knocked to make way for apartments with a view; the Roman Baths in Bath, Avon is the most foul smelling (sulphur) place in the UK; The hill of Tara is just that, a hill etc etc.

Some of us may differ on what makes a beautiful building but when they are included on a Listed / Protected register we all have a duty to look after them, otherwise we may as well have no planning laws at all?

The problems with Cork’s Bonded Warehouses go back many years, for example we wrote to the Port of Cork and the Cork Bonded Warehouses Ltd. as far back as 2000 outlining concerns, the following letter shows that claiming ignorance on the value of these buildings now will not wash.

24th March, 2000.
Mr. William O’Mahony,
Managing Director,
Cork Bonded Warehouses Limited,
Custom House Quay,
CORK.

RE: Your Lease dated 27th March. 1918.

Dear Mr. O’Mahony,

We received a copy of letter dated 25th from Mr. John Power, Building Control Officer, City Hall, Cork addressed to you.

As you are aware, under the terms of the 1918 Lease under which you hold the property there is an obligation on you that you “will (subject as hereinafter mentioned) well and substantially repair cleanse maintain amend and in good and tenantable repair order and condition keep the said premises and all new buildings and works which may at any time during the said tenure be erected on and all additions made to the said premises and the fixtures therein and the walls fences vaults roads sewers drains and appurtenances thereof with all necessary reparations cleansings and amendments whatsoever (damage by fire excepted) and the said premises so repaired cleansed maintained amended and kept as aforesaid will at the expiration or sooner determination of this demise quietly yield up to the Lessors together with all additions and improvements made thereto in the meantime and all fixtures of every kind in or upon the said premises or which during the said term may be affixed or fastened to or upon the same..”.

We now call upon you to comply in full with the above covenant having regard to the terms of the aforementioned letter from Mr. John Power, Building Control Officer, with particular reference to the south east comer of your premises and the Schedule of Dilapidations dated June 1999 which was served on you from this office.

We require confirmation from you within 14 days of the receipt of this letter that you will immediately take such steps as to remedy the breach of the above detailed covenant

We are awaiting from you.

Declan Owens
Port of Cork
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby MrX » Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:59 am

In that case, it's really time someone steps in and takes actual legal action before it's far too late.
There's far too much pussyfooting about when it comes to issues like this.

Can the local authority get involved ? or is the Port of Cork entirely responsible?
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby kite » Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:35 pm

MrX wrote:In that case, it's really time someone steps in and takes actual legal action before it's far too late.
There's far too much pussyfooting about when it comes to issues like this.

Can the local authority get involved ? or is the Port of Cork entirely responsible?


Cork City Council has a legal obligation to ensure that the Cork Bonded Warehouses do not fall into a state of disrepair.
Port of Cork holds the buildings in trust for the people of Ireland and has the power to force their tenants to maintain the building under the terms of the dilapidation schedule (at no cost to POC or the city).
Both parties are ultimately owned by the citizens of the state yet they show a scant regard for maintaining part of the city’s history.

I wonder sometimes if some fingers are not crossed hoping that the building would collapse or spontaneously combust?
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby Devin » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:43 pm

The slated canopies - "Linneys"? - on the warehouses are an interesting surviving feature. That must be very rare in terms of industrial achitectural heritage.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby kite » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:13 pm

Devin wrote:The slated canopies - "Linneys"? - on the warehouses are an interesting surviving feature. That must be very rare in terms of industrial achitectural heritage.


External evidence indicates that since the date of Protection / Listing no remedial work has been carried out on these important Linneys and that a warehouse building at the tip of the site (containing steelwork of architectural heritage) fell into such a poor state of repair that it had to be demolished.
It would seem from documentation held by CCC that the condition & safety of that now demolished warehouse was of concern to both Cork City Council & the Main Drainage contractors, but was curiously not specifically itemised for remedial work in Port of Cork’s schedule of dilapidations served on Cork Bonded Warehouses.
The fact remains that the repairing obligation was implicit within the lease and in the interests of asset husbandry neither party (but particularly Port
of Cork as Head Lessor) have exercised that obligation & they have jointly & jointly continue to allow the current state of dilapidation to arise.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby who_me » Thu May 10, 2007 4:05 pm

Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but aren't the bonded warehouses merely the yellow buildings off the main warehouses? (on the right, in the above photo).

I recall when this came up first in a thread last year and that was the conclusion we reached, so either that thread or this is wrong! ;)

Personally, I'd have no problem with those yellow warehouses being knocked, but it would be a crying shame for the main warehouses to fall any further into disrepair. Considering the glass 'n' metal monolith we'd be likely to see in their stead, it's crucial that these buildings are maintained.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby lawyer » Thu May 10, 2007 9:17 pm

The Bonded Warehouses are the buildings down the centre, dividing the South Custom House Quay from the North Custom House Quay..
The yellow building is an ordinary warehouse added in the 1950s
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby who_me » Wed May 16, 2007 12:25 pm

lawyer wrote:The Bonded Warehouses are the buildings down the centre, dividing the South Custom House Quay from the North Custom House Quay..
The yellow building is an ordinary warehouse added in the 1950s


Strange, since the yellow building is the one with the "Bonded Warehouses" written on it.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby bosco » Wed May 16, 2007 4:21 pm

Having followed this discussion in the past, I was again reminded of the potential of the bonded warehouse buildings in Cork when I saw how similar waterside structures in Sydney have been transformed to become boutique restaurants and craft shops, of immense benefit to local tourism.

Image

Note the (new) canopies and the ships masts adding to the maritime feel. There is an historical tall ship, the Svanen, moored outside these warehouses, just out of frame to the left of the above picture. It's a shame the likes of the Jeanie Johnston is now based in Dublin and we have nothing of the kind to display in our fledgling docklands development area.

Another perspective: http://www.flickr.com/photos/royskeane/475240605/
And another: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SydneyTheRocks2_gobeirne.jpg

Background info: http://www.sydneyontheweb.com/explore_sydney/content/Campbells_Cove/index.shtml
Detail listing on NSW heritage office website: http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_02_2.cfm?itemid=5053177

It seems that elsewhere in the world people actually give a damn about these historical buildings and can see the potential that lies within. When you see these buildings up close it is remarkable how similar (if not by design then by background) they are to the warehouses in Cork which are now in such a disgraceful state. How can those responsible for planning the multi-billion euro docklands strategy be given any credibility when such a central focal point of the city's character is allowed to fall into such disrepair?

Wouldn't it be great if the bonded warehouses in Cork could be carefully restored and protected and used for a tourism/leisure use like these?
What else can be done by the ordinary public to put pressure on the responsible parties?
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby kite » Wed May 16, 2007 10:56 pm

bosco wrote:Having followed this discussion in the past, I was again reminded of the potential of the bonded warehouse buildings in Cork when I saw how similar waterside structures in Sydney have been transformed to become boutique restaurants and craft shops, of immense benefit to local tourism.

Image

Note the (new) canopies and the ships masts adding to the maritime feel. There is an historical tall ship, the Svanen, moored outside these warehouses, just out of frame to the left of the above picture. It's a shame the likes of the Jeanie Johnston is now based in Dublin and we have nothing of the kind to display in our fledgling docklands development area.

Another perspective: http://www.flickr.com/photos/royskeane/475240605/
And another: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:SydneyTheRocks2_gobeirne.jpg

Background info: http://www.sydneyontheweb.com/explore_sydney/content/Campbells_Cove/index.shtml
Detail listing on NSW heritage office website: http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/07_subnav_02_2.cfm?itemid=5053177

It seems that elsewhere in the world people actually give a damn about these historical buildings and can see the potential that lies within. When you see these buildings up close it is remarkable how similar (if not by design then by background) they are to the warehouses in Cork which are now in such a disgraceful state. How can those responsible for planning the multi-billion euro docklands strategy be given any credibility when such a central focal point of the city's character is allowed to fall into such disrepair?

Wouldn't it be great if the bonded warehouses in Cork could be carefully restored and protected and used for a tourism/leisure use like these?
What else can be done by the ordinary public to put pressure on the responsible parties?


I fully agree with you bosco.
In Cork all that matters is money, not heritage, history, or plain common sense planning.
These listed heritage buildings should be protected under existing law, unfortunately POC and their cronies (only a few) in City Hall are rolling up the trouser legs, giving the “handshake” and sticking two fingers up to the people who pay their wages (and their junkets to see “best practice” in dockland designs.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby who_me » Fri May 18, 2007 1:07 pm

That's exactly how I (and I'm sure, most others) envisioned the quay being developed. It'd be great to have something at the east end of the island to draw people down from the South Mall/Parnell Place and bring some life to the area.

The only problem is it's a bit isolated with the street (Albert St?) cutting across it - I presume some form of traffic calming/pedestrian priority would be needed. The addition of the boardwalk including bar and cafes on Lapps quay leave a nice pedestrian loop around the island tip.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby crc » Fri May 18, 2007 4:25 pm

who_me wrote:That's exactly how I (and I'm sure, most others) envisioned the quay being developed. It'd be great to have something at the east end of the island to draw people down from the South Mall/Parnell Place and bring some life to the area.

The only problem is it's a bit isolated with the street (Albert St?) cutting across it - I presume some form of traffic calming/pedestrian priority would be needed. The addition of the boardwalk including bar and cafes on Lapps quay leave a nice pedestrian loop around the island tip.

Wasn't there a plan to put in a pedestrian bridge between here and the railway station? That would also draw more people / tourists to the eastern side of the city centre.
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby yotty » Fri May 18, 2007 9:20 pm

new to site.anybody actively doing anything about this disgrace to corks architectural heritage?
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Re: Bonded Warehouse at Custom House Quay, Cork

Postby PTB » Fri May 18, 2007 10:39 pm

crc wrote:Wasn't there a plan to put in a pedestrian bridge between here and the railway station? That would also draw more people / tourists to the eastern side of the city centre.


Yeah, but it would destroy the distinctive point of Morrisons Island.
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