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CITY TRIBUNE

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

Enda Cunningham

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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.
For the rest of this story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.

CITY TRIBUNE

Covid could leave Galway City Council with €25m budget hole

Stephen Corrigan

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Shop STreet this week.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council is facing into a “potential crisis scenario” with a forecasted €25 million black hole in its budget, unless the Government comes good on a promise to plug the gap left by Covid-19.

That’s according to City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath who told councillors this week that the commercial rates waiver introduced by Government and a drop in income from goods and services provided by the local authority could slash their forecast annual revenue by 25%.

Mr McGrath said the last Government, when it introduced the rates waiver for cash-strapped businesses in March, had committed to €260 million to be put aside to bolster local authority finances, but no detail of how that will be rolled out had been provided.

“We are hoping as part of the July stimulus package, the new Government will give us the detail we so desperately need,” he said.

“Our rates standing orders have been wiped out to the tune of 90%.”

Tourism was crucial to the economic success of Galway, he continued, with approximately 80% of city businesses reliant on tourists to stay afloat.

“We have the highest percentage dependency of any local authority on rates from the tourism and hospitality sector,” said Mr McGrath.

It was for that reason that the Executive was seeking councillors’ approval to free up €485,000 of the so-called ‘Marketing Sinking Fund’ to finance a raft of tourism initiatives aimed at boosting the local economy by attracting domestic tourists as Covid-related restrictions are eased, in what Mr McGrath referred to as “temporary internal borrowing”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, and more on the tourism promotion plans, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Seafront prom and new train station planned for Murrough

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A vision of a new urban district on GMIT lands at Murrough – including a seafront promenade and new train station – has been submitted to Government for funding approval.

Galway City Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath has outlined a plan to ‘leverage’ land and resources of the third level institute to create a new East City Urban District.

Mr McGrath has included the plans in an application for funding under the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The total value of the project would be €61 million, he said, which values the land at Murrough at about €14 million.

“We are seeking URDF investment to activate these sites as catalysts to boost population and economic output for the city and region,” Mr McGrath told city councillors.

He said that by leveraging the lands at GMIT, the Council was delivering on a target in the National Planning Framework 2040, which states there should be “special focus on capitalising on the potential of underutilised and publicly owned and centrally located sites”.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Plans to double size of Galway City student complex

Enda Cunningham

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A computer-generated image of how the new Cúirt na Coiribe would look.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The investment fund which owns the Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation complex on the Headford Road is planning to more than double the number of bed spaces there to 920.

Exeter Property Group, one of the biggest property investment groups in the world, has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission to demolish a two-storey building to the front of the development and to remove the existing fifth floor attic level from the next block.

The proposal involves extending upwards and outwards to create a total of 920 bed spaces in 868 bedrooms in a single building with nine linked blocks ranging from two to six storeys.

The project includes a gym/fitness studio in the basement, a games room, library/study spaces, café/restaurant and lounge spaces.

There will be 59 carparking spaces and 656 cycle spaces included. A total of 398 of the 405 existing bed spaces will be retained.

It is proposed that the existing bed spaces will retain their original planning permission which allows for short-stay lets throughout the year, and the additional 515 spaces would only be permitted to be used as short-stay lets during the summer months.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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