Construction is underway on the city’s most important high-street development for many years.
“The Capitol”, located on St Patrick’s Street, but also with frontage to Grand Parade, is a €50 million development by local developer JCD (John Cleary Developments) and is the first spec-built city centre development in Cork since Opera Lane seven years ago.
The site, which extends to 0.75 of an acre beside the famed English Market, was previously occupied by six shops, The Vineyard bar and the former Capitol cinema.
It had been derelict for almost a decade but has now been cleared to make way for the 100,000sq ft scheme which will accommodate one large tenant or a number of mid-sized retailers (around 40,000sq ft) with retail on three floors and two floors of offices overhead.
Local TD and acting Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has described the The Capitol project as “one of the most significant developments that Cork has seen in decades” with “the capacity to transform commercial and retail activity on the western side of the city”.
Letting agent Savills says negotiations are underway with a number of established retailers to fill the space, which will also include up to 50,000sq ft of upper-floor offices with access from Grand Parade and views over the city centre.
A protected structure on site, the former Oyster Tavern, is to be renovated into a ground and first-floor bar/restaurant.
JCD applied for planning permission for The Capitol in March 2015. It got the green light from Cork City Council in July but this was appealed to An Bord Pleanála which finally cleared the way for the scheme to proceed in December 2015.
JCD recently completed the 175,000sq ft One Albert Quay scheme in the city which is almost entirely let to US security systems firm Tyco and PwC.
Green REIT snapped up One Albert Quay in May 2015 for €58 million securing an attractive yield in the process. When fully let, the building will produce a rent roll of between €3.6 million and €4.1 million.
Peter O’Meara of Savills says St Patrick’s Street has witnessed strong activity in recent months, with a number of new lettings to the likes of SuperDry, Holland & Barrett, Pandora and Hairspray.
“Savills is in negotiations with a European retailer for 74/75 Patrick Street in addition to a number of off-market deals on Opera Lane,” says Mr O’Meara. “Further down the street, the redevelopment of Merchant’s Quay will commence this year. In addition, Penneys is expected to lodge a planning application for a store in excess of 100,000sq ft on Patrick Street over the coming months.”
The Capitol will also be the first anchor-store opportunity to appear on St Patrick’s Street since the 1980s.