North Main Street Project Gets The Green Light.

EDC is delighted to be working with Bmor on this fantastic project which is supporting the regeneration plan of Cork City’s most historic street.

This mixed-use development scheme will provide 280 student beds along with retail units and the reinstatement of the historic Coleman’s Lane.

We are looking forward to seeing this exciting development take shape.

This article originally appeared in the Irish Examimer

LARGE-scale plans for a second urban regeneration site on Cork city’s North Main Street, focused around the North Main Street Shopping Centre, may follow on an initial €25 million investment at a derelict site, vacant and cleared after a fire back in 2008.

London-based BMOR, a development company with Irish directors who have Cork family roots, are now set to apply to Cork City Council for permission for 280 student beds, two retail units, reinstatement of the medieval Coleman’s Lane which links back to Grattan Street, and the creation of a small ‘pocket park’ which will be open to the public.

BMOR’s plans have been in the offing for the past year, after they acquired the site in 2018. There have been extensive pre-planning discussions and co-operation with Cork City Council, who sources say have facilitated clearing title and other historic issues for the site.

North Main Street Development BMOR

Design for the mixed-use site, which has the potential to be a game changer for the street, breathing new residential life into it and boosting trade and footfall for existing traders such as family businesses like Bradleys, is by architects O’Mahony Pike.

The site previously traded as Munster Furniture, and had been acquired in the early 2000s by David and Brian O’Connor, who had a clothing shop Diesel further up North Main Street, who offered it then at an annual rent of €1m.

The premises, which traded over two floors, was destroyed by fire in 2008. It was reported at the time that the brothers had paid close to €9m for the deep, 25,000 sq ft property, which comprised a number of historic four-storey 1830s buildings with Georgian facades.

The O’Connors’ former Diesel premises, at nos 62-64 North Main Street is currently boarded up and braced onto the street after a partial building collapse.

The current €25m plan includes two new shop units, 280 student beds, and support facilities such as a gym, laundry, a study, library, communal working areas, and a landscaped external courtyard, with restoration of Coleman’s Lane, one of several medieval lanes between North Main Street and Grattan Street.

Hard hit since the economic crash in the late 2000s, North Main Street has been the subject of several urban renewal studies, including one from UCC in 2016, and BMOR say their plans “will undoubtedly serve as a key contributor to the much-needed regeneration of North Main Street.”

Company director Paul Irwin says “as a Cork native, it gives me great pleasure and pride to present our ambitious plans for Cork city. The scheme, designed by O’Mahony Pike Architects, balances the rich heritage of North Main Street with sleek, innovative, and contemporary design.

“We believe this project will help to kick start the exciting redevelopment plans envisaged for this part of the city.” And, with the current economic pall from the Coronavirus pandemic, Mr Irwin added that “despite all that has transpired with the Covid-19 pandemic, we at BMOR have continued to forge ahead with this and other projects in the Cork area.

“We are confident that this project will not only breathe new life into one of the city’s most historic areas, but that the increased footfall generated as a result of the development will also benefit the existing neighbouring businesses and encourage an influx of new business to North Main Street and its surrounding areas.

“We also envisage that this project will reignite the appetite of up and coming working professionals to consider city centre living in Cork.” Mr Irwin added.

If cleared planning, the project on the long derelict site could involve 150 construction jobs, and 30 full-time jobs, say BMO, whose website www.bmor.co.uk claims current and ten-year pipeline projects at capital values of over €1bn.

“With the assistance of Cork City Council, who have been very supportive of this regeneration initiative since it was initially presented to them, we fully intend to proceed promptly with this venture upon receipt of planning permission.” Mr Irwin stated.