Stores in The Capitol confirmed; Oyster Tavern to reopen

March 28, 2017

Global 21st-century tech giant Facebook, along with Chinese firm Huawei and US cyber security company Alien Vault, are to keep company with a repolished Cork pearl, the 18th century-founded Oyster Tavern, as the line-up for the city centre’s €50m Capitol shops, office and bar development is confirmed.

Taking on the reboot of the famed, 1700s-founded Oyster Tavern after a €1.5m fit-out is Dublin-based publican and restaurateur Alan Clancy, whose ventures include House, The Ivy and 37 Dawson Street in Dublin, as well as super-pub House in Limerick, previously the Sin Bin.

Mr Clancy’s lease on Cork’s Oyster Tavern, adjoining the equally historic English Market, was confirmed by Capitol developers JCD last night, along with news of 100% retail occupancy, and of a strong FDI office take-up on the upper floors.

As the hoardings came down on the transformed 0.75 acre city-centre site on Grand Parade and St Patrick’s Street for new shops and offices, developer John Cleary announced the project was 80% let, with just one floor of offices left to fill.

Retailers are Lifestyle Sport, moving from 39 St Patrick’s Street to a far larger new flagship store, and TK Maxx’s homewares’ sister company, HomeSense.

The Capitol cinema closed in 2005, showing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as one of its final films.

The key redevelopment site was assembled in the mid-2000s at a staggering cost of €60m and, after a decade of dereliction, it was sold to John Cleary Developments two years ago for €6m.

Oyster Tavern to reopen by June

Cork’s famous Oyster Tavern bar and restaurant is set to reopen by the June bank holiday weekend, as news comes that the €50m Capitol development is 80% let.

Set to take over at the Oyster Tavern on Market Lane off St Patrick St, next to the English Market, is multi-pub and restaurant operator Alan Clancy, who owns a string of Dublin venues such as House on Leeson St, 37 Dawson Street, and Ivy.

Mr Clancy also opened House in Limerick last October, in the former Sin Bin premise after a €750,000 fitout. He has now signed a long-term lease to reopen the famed Oyster Tavern, which is one of the city’s oldest licensed premises with a 100-year pedigree, and which was the only part of the assembled Capitol site stretching from St Patrick Street to Grand Parade to escape demolition.

In its new chapter, and after a lavish fitout which will return several of the original classic restaurant fittings and mirrors, the Oyster Tavern on Market Lane will include a restaurant, bar, and oyster bar, sourcing much of its produce from the adjoining and internationally renowned English Market.

“I’m very pleased to be involved in the Oyster,,” said Mr Clancy yesterday. “It’s in a great development, and I believe there’s exciting times ahead for the city centre.

“It’s up and coming now once more.”

Meanwhile, hoardings came down on Thursday on the Grand Parade facade of the Capitol, as confirmation came that Lifestyle Sports will take 1,950 sq m of retail space as a flagship store, over two levels and with pedestrian access points to St Patrick St and Grand Parade.

It will be one of Lifestyle Sports largest Irish stores. It has 53 outlets, including three in Cork, in Wilton, Blackpool, and at 39 St Patrick St, which it will now vacate, and is set to open in the Capitol in June.

John Cleary Developments also confirmed that remaining retail space at the Wilson Architecture- designed Capitol has been let “to an undisclosed international homewares operator”, taking 1,860sq m.

Sources say it is HomeSense, a discount homewares company under the TK Maxx umbrella, which has 44 stores worldwide since 2008, and is also due to open in Dublin’s Blanchardstown. TK Maxx already has a general store 100m away in Cork, at Cornmarket St.

Most of the Capitol’s office upper floors are also let.

Taking the entire top floor is a Facebook/Oculus VR subsidiary, and it has started hiring staff for its virtual reality firm which has acquired Cork start-up Infiniled.

Also due to move in is US security software company AlienVault on the second floor, creating a new European HQ and moving in by late April, where it will have capacity to increase to more than 100 employees.

The remainder of the second floor will be occupied from May by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which is taking 557sq m. Huawei has had an R&D centre in Cork since 2013.

Developer John Cleary of JCD Group praised builders Bam for a quality building and smooth progress, and thanked neighbours on the two main streets and in the English Market for their support during the 15-month demolition and building period on the 0.75 acre plot in the heart of they city.

The Examiner 25th March 2017
Tommy Barker