Two of the country’s top construction companies have made approaches to Galway City Council with a view to embarking on a massive multi-million euro devleopment of the Dyke Road car park.
At the moment Galway City Council are preparing a briefing document for their vision for the future of the Dyke Road car park and Black Box Theatre – it is expected to be completed in a matter of months.
The plan for the five-acre site will involve the provision of a multi-storey car park along with a cultural hub that will include a 1,500 to 2,000-seat theatre/concert hall, schools of dance and music and other arts space – it would result in the Black Box Theatre being demolished.
There are hopes that the plans for the Dyke Road will also include extensive student accommodation along with pedestrian access to NUIG via a new footbridge over the railway line pillars on the Corrib.
The Dyke Road redevelopment has been mooted for the past couple of years and it has now been learned two major construction companies have expressed an interest in recent weeks of becoming part of the extensive project.
But the main ‘cash-cow’ in terms of revenue for the City Council would involve the more than doubling of the number of car parking spaces on the Dyke Road to around 1,200 – having the potential to generate up to €2 million annually.
Cllr Peter Keane, a member of the Corporate Policy Group within Galway City Council who are driving this project, confirmed that there had already been interest from the construction industry to become involved in a partnership arrangement with the local authority.
However, it is unlikely that the redevelopment of the Dyke Road will incorporate the County Library which is set to move from its current location in the Hynes Building. A possible development of the surface car park at the rear of County Hall on Prospect Hill could be a potential location for this.
Cllr Keane said that any suggestion that the Dyke Road development was being shelved was “way off the mark” and added that officials were currently engaged in drawing up a briefing document of what they envisage for the site.
When this document is published – hoped to be around the middle of the year – it will then result in expressions of interest being sought from contractors or potential investors.
However, it is expected to be a lengthy and convoluted process before the diggers arrive on the site. Even if the project smoothly went through the planning process – which is highly unlikely – it would be at least two or three years before there would be any activity.
“But the process has to commence somewhere and I would hope that the briefing document will be ready within a matter of months. The city is crying out for such a project to commence.
“Not alone will it provide us with a theatre of an international standard, it could be a one-stop-shop for arts in the city, but it will also have the potential to take hundreds of cars out of the city centre.
“I am also hoping that extensive student accommodation can be provided on the site with a direct link to the college via the old railway line across the Corrib. This would certainly enhance the whole project,” Cllr Keane added.