A computer rendering of the Beamish and Crawford site which is part of a €46 million overhaul of the city’s medieval quarter.

City set for €46m makeover

One of the biggest and most ambitious transformations ever seen on Leeside will begin in the city’s historic medieval quarter next year.

Last night, Cork City Council released details of the first phase of the €46.05 million Grand Parade Quarter project which will include a new state-of-the-art library on the Grand Parade.

This dramatic and visionary overhaul will see a complete renewal of the area around the southern gateway to the medieval city.

It will connect the Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park with the south channel of the River Lee and the city centre’s business core.

As part of the project, Bishop Lucey Park is to be completely renewed based on an award-winning architectural design that opens up the park to the wider city centre.

The design will re-imagine the iconic space within the park, while bringing many biodiversity gains and protecting and highlighting the city’s medieval wall.

South Main Street will be transformed through the creation of a large scale public space opening up the historic Counting House on the Beamish and Crawford site and creating new walking and cycling opportunities around the area.

The revitalisation will be further enhanced by a sustainable greening strategy with street trees lining footpaths and roadways with low level planting beds.

In tandem with the Beamish and Crawford site works, complementary public realm improvements are to be made to South Main Street, Tobin Street, Tuckey Street, South Gate Bridge, Keyser’s Hill, Proby’s Quay, Frenchs Quay Crosses Green, Clarke’s Bridge and Wandesford Quay.

The remaining and final element of the project will see the development of a state-of-the-art new city public library in the Grand Parade area.

Commenting on the announcement, Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Colm Kelleher described the project as “striking and game changing” for the city.

“The Grand Parade Quarter project will create a wonderfully attractive environment providing accessible and inviting spaces and streets for residents and visitors alike.”

The works will be funded through the Government’s Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF) established under the Government’s Ireland 2040 programme and from Cork City Council’s own resources.

The project represents the first application of URDF investment in the city.

City’s Chief Executive, Ann Doherty said the project is very much in keeping with the Council’s objective to reimagine the city.

“The greater receptiveness to change arising from today’s challenges has allowed us to fast forward many of our proposals and plans.

“In many respects, Cork city is an exemplar for positive change at this time and this project builds on that momentum,” she said.

Ms Doherty added that she is looking forward to the development of the 6,000 seat event centre on the Beamish and Crawford site which she said will greatly enhanced by the significant renewal all around the area.

The proposals for Bishop Lucey Park and the Beamish and Crawford/South Main Street and surrounding area are the subject of two separate Part 8 Planning applications to be published today (Thursday) before entering public consultation.

Tendering and contractor appointments are scheduled to occur in the first quarter of next year with construction set to begin later in 2022.

Initial planning for the new city library has commenced and further details will be released later in the year.