€1 billion plan for ‘New Galway’ set to get back on track

An aerial view of the lands zoned for redevelopment. The CIE land is the concreted area to the right of Forthill Cemetery and adjoining property.

A €1 billion city centre redevelopment plan for more than 14 acres of land around Ceannt Station is back on the cards.

One of the country’s best-known developers, Galwayman Gerry Barrett, said he firmly believes the CIE lands will come up for sale within the next 12 months, as a result of his ‘Bonham Quay’ planning application for a €100 million office development at the adjoining former ‘Topaz’ oil tanks site at the Docks.

He told the Galway City Tribune that his plans will “kick off” the CIE land plan again, as well as the ‘Forty Acres’ site at the Docks, which he believes would be ideal for residential development.

Meanwhile, the IDA said an up-to-date masterplan for the CIE lands needs to be drawn up urgently.

Mr Barrett said: “If this [Bonham Quay] is successful, it will kick off the harbour. What this will do is kick off the CIE lands again. I have no doubt they’ll come up for sale in the next twelve months because of this.”

He said the so-called ‘Forty Acres’ at Galway Harbour Enterprise Park would be a prime location for residential development, while there should also be some residential element to any redevelopment of the CIE site.

Catherina Blewitt, the IDA’s West Regional Manager – who has a background in urban planning and development – said the agency is “very supportive” of the City Council’s new City Development Plan, which recognises the importance of the CIE land and Inner Harbour in “reinforcing the prime role of the city centre in both Galway City and the Gateway region”.

She said it is hugely important to have the right mix of uses for any development to create the right “living space”, and said an up-to-date masterplan needs to be drawn up urgently.

In 2009, Mr Barrett was confirmed as the preferred partner-developer of an €800 million ‘New Galway’ on Ceannt Station, which would be built in phases over ten years.

It was to include 600,000 square feet of retail space, more than 200 residential units, bars, cafés, restaurants and cultural space.

However, the project was shelved in 2012 because of the collapse of the economy.
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