CIF makes ‘show us the money’ plea to Government
The combined investment proposed for the North Quays, the Ard Rí site and the Michael Street area has been projected to reach an astonishing €562 million.
This appraisal, prepared for Waterford & City Council by Indecon Economic Consultants, was highlighted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in reaction to the publication of the Council’s North Wharf Draft Planning Scheme.
Describing the document as “another significant step” for the city and region, Ronan O’Brien of the CIF’s Southern Region stated: “It is vitally important that this private sector-led development is supported by the provision of infrastructure by the state, with a required investment of approximately €63.4m.
“This investment by the state will unlock Waterford’s potential, delivering the redevelopment of the North Quays, the Ard Rí Hotel and the Michael Street Shopping Centre.”
As the Draft Planning Scheme notes: “Waterford is a city in transition, traditionally dependant on manufacturing with port infrastructure. It is now in a move to high end manufacturing, internationally traded services and tourism. The redevelopment of the North Quays will feed into this change by enhancing and accelerating this transformation and propelling the city forward”.
Said Ronan O’Brien: “This investment indicates just how significant Strategic Development Zones (SDZ) can be in attracting private sector inward investment into a region. SDZs provide planning certainty for private sector-led development.”
The Munster Express understands that the Saudi Arabian-based Fawaz Alhokair Group is impressed with the proposed designs for the North Quays, which aims to attract a million visitors by 2025, a four-fold increase on the current tally.
Mr O’Brien said the 8.23 Hectares of Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) land at the North Quays “are not only important to the South East, they are also of major economic and social importance to the State”.
He continued: “For years, development in Waterford city has been limited by the absence of key infrastructure, particularly in respect of its river crossings and city centre access.
This multimillion euro investment at North Quays along with the development of the Michael Street shopping complex will help to transform Waterford City and ensure that the city attracts further investment in the future.”
Referring to the ‘Ireland 2040) National Planning Framework (NPF), Mr O’Brien said the Government had identified Waterford “as a key growth centre and envisages that the population of Waterford will double between now and 2040”.
He added: “Projects and developments such as North Quays will help ensure that this vision for the region will be realised. The predicted population growth means that thousands of new homes will be required. This in turn will lead to the creation of many jobs in the construction of these new residential units.”
The development is set to create 1,000 direct construction jobs created throughout the project, which is certain to benefit many of the CIF’s 200 member companies based in the South East.
It’s also believed that the project will deliver 2,300 jobs are created in retail and tourism.
Ronan O’Brien concluded: “Projects such as this represent a long-term commitment to Ireland’s economy and will provide the necessary physical infrastructure for the further expansion of many companies throughout the region.”