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@Graham Hickey wrote:

Lexington, has high-rise even been an issue in Cork?
Has the solution (if it can be described as such) to the Dublin battle that’s taken place over the decades, been neatly applied to Cork just as it begins to take off?
That is, allow it in designated areas and otherwise forget it? Not that that’s exactly happening in Dublin – but it is interesting that tall buildings elsewhere in Ireland are causing little to no controversy at all.

Is everyone just fed up at this stage and are just saying ah sure let them at it, or is it an acceptance that tall buildings anywhere can be acceptable as long as they’re clumped together or are used independently as ‘landmarks’? Or is this just a passing fad and will public opinion swing back aagin in 5-10 years I wonder?

Cork’s high-rise record isn’t an enviable one – i.e. Cork County Hall, Victoria Mills etc. And generally, the local public have held a certain disdain toward the notion, however, when the original Cork City Docklands Development Plan was formulated (even as far back as 1998), Cork City Council noted (and perhaps in part recognition to the voices of many high-rise lobbyists which accused the council of being Anti High-rise) that it was not oppose to the development of high-rise buildings in locations which high-rise structures already exist – specifically, the Cork Docklands (thanks to structures like R&H Hall) was mentioned. Further to this, it was noted that this waterfont area offered a unique opportunity to develop visual and architectural landmarks to an area so long neglected.

Later, in the Cork City Development Plan 2003 (amended 2004), it was noted that further areas such as Victoria Cross (home to Cork County Hall), Tivoli, Blackpool and Eglinton Street (all designated Cork City ‘Gateways’ could stand to benefit from at least one landmark, tall building each (more in Victoria Cross’ case). This Gateway approach is in the interests of architectural and planning balance. The city centre (the current city centre) is protected with a ceiling of 9-storeys). I think the people of Cork seemed to recognise, that areas like the docklands, which possess such tall structures would be hollow without them and a few more wasn’t really going to take away from what is there. You also have to remember Cork city is actually well in breach of its so-called ‘City Limits’ – over 175,000 people live in ‘city’ areas/suburbs that are not officially recognised by Cork County Council (or maps!!!) as being part of the city. The growth is eating away at the countryside. In order to encourage continued city centre development, planners recognised that, without being able to build out, they’d have to build up.

Consequently developers jumped at the chance to take advantage of this new policy – allowing them maximise their development potential and capacity on smaller areas of land which had been previously bounded by restriction. Initially in 1999 it was CIE that investigated developing a number of tall buildings for their Horgan’s Quay Urban Masterplan in conjunction with Manor Park Homes (but this is not due til 2007), a few years later Werdna proposed Water Street, O’Callaghan Properties with Jurys, then O’Flynn Construction with Eglinton Street and there are at least 5 other high-rise plans in the pipeline. 2 for the docklands are in exc ess of 20-storeys. In planning, the biggest problems faced by these high-rises has been density (Water Street) and parking facilities (Eglinton Street). The design standards have been very high, allaying many previous held fears about ‘ugly’ buildings. The designs for the planned high-rises are also of a very high-standard. I think what is happening in Cork is also a consequence of the economic conditions and associated confidence which is part of an overall national trend. Yes there are some difficult people who remain utterly adverse to the concept, but the fact is, more and more, it will become necessary.

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