Re: Cornmarket Street, Paul Street S.C. and Academy Street – the OCP Connection
Michael O’Donoghue of Rockfell Investments
You may remember a few months ago that I post Rockfell Investments (a development SPV set up by Michael O’Donoghue of the O’Donoghue/Ring Hotel Group and Munster Joinery) based at Lacka Cross intended to start work on their Cornmarket Street development for April. The development which received the greenlight in October 2004 was subject to substantial revisions by architect Niall Coffey (w/ Frank Ennis & Associates) and in the end was approved with 65 apartments, 66 basement parking spaces and over 120,000sq ft of retail over 9 units at the former Musgrave (Guy & Co.) building, Noddy’s Toystore and former Paul Street church – however things have been stalled ever since the developer was approached by O’Callaghan Properties (OCP) MD Owen O’Callaghan. It would seem, OCP are very protective of their retail provision dominance in the Cork city area. Besides OCP, the only real threat to this crown is from the Shipton Group (Clayton Love Jnr’s vehicle) and to a lesser extent, O’Flynn Construction. Talks were initiated about a possible joint venture in the Cornmarket Street development – despite OCP having its own ambitions set on the 150m euro retail/residential building planned for a 0.6acre block at Academy Street (an application is still set for this summer). There remains a projected demand of some 400,000sq ft of city centre retail space in Cork – Academy Street would bring around 200,000sq ft of that space between 30/40 units across its lower levels. The negotiation stage is still unclear, but it looks as though OCP would be anxious for the Rockfell development to link across into its aging Paul Street S.C. – which would in turn be revamped to the standards provided by the Cornmarket Street project. Tesco would remain anchor tenant for Paul Street. The link-up would also provide Rockfell’s project with direct access to the public multi-storey car-park as it has no such facilities of its own (with the 66 basement spaces designated for resident use only). As for a further link-up to Academy Street nearby, I find it unlikely and have not heard of anything as of yet. Academy Street will primarily avail of pedestrian-based trade given its accessibility and access onto Patrick’s Street – remember, the street sees approx. half-a-million pedestrian movements per week, that’s a lot of trade – it is also a reason OCP were so anxious to have a frontage onto the street by acquiring the Taboo bar and current The Jean Scene building (notably, The Jean Scene have applied for a unit at the Academy Street facility along with Gasoline – who will seek to transfer their business to the centre from Merchants Quay S.C.). Rumours persist that OCP have since managed to strike a deal with the Reidy family regarding their Le Cheateau bar – but the deal entails that the licensed premises will still remain on completion of the development.
A clear position will be made known soon regarding Cornmarket Street – whether Mr. O’Donoghue accepts the offer with OCP or not, it’s clear that the offer could be an attractive one to him. Nothing has been set in stone yet – but its nice to know what’s going on in the background. I really like the Rockfell project. Nonetheless, a target has been set for clearance and excavation works to commence for this summer, with some tenancy agreements having already been accorded for the development – including a large unit for furniture retailler Habitat. Other rumours include a unit for Dixons and Boots (who are expected will transfer from Patrick’s Street to avail of a larger city centre unit with greater presence – no confirmation has yet been solidified).
I have to say, I admire Mr. O’Donoghue’s motto toward business, it’s quoted as being “The best is only barely good enough for me!”
😎 I hope to reveal the architects behind Academy Street soon – its all pending – but if anyone is wise to this, some members of the Academy Street design team were present on invitation by Mr. O’Callaghan to the opening of Mahon Point S.C.
🙂 Lidl have acquired a site along the Ballyhooly Road in Ballyvolane for which they intend to develop a discount food store (and possibly additional retail units) – no application has been made yet, so the specifics are not yet clear. It seems Dunnes Stores is still not safe even despite outbidding the Germal retaillers for a 1.9 acre site near its Ballyvolane S.C.
😎 O’Flynn Construction have applied to make a number of finishing alterations to their Ballincollig Town Centre shopping centre facility and adjoining multi-storey car-park. Were once, the northern elevation of the S.C. and part of the Western elevation of the car-park were set to be finished with timber cladding, this will now be omitted in favour of a less maintenance heavy finish of metal sheet cladding. Dunnes Stores will anchor 2 of the main anchor units (grocery and clothing), providing a combined area of approx. 60,000sq ft, with the 3rd anchor tenant set to be announced shortly, with a 30,000sq ft unit. Easons are already taking up a units 10 & 11 with a newsagents and cafe. Vero Moda are also supposedly looking at a unit but I haven’t heard anything of this other than 3rd party info. The S.C. is scheduled for opening in October 2005.
Ballincollig Town Centre S.C.