The latest innovative development in Waterford’s ‘Viking Quarter’ – a new craft building which will house four ex-Waterford Crystal blowers producing coloured glass – was rubber stamped by the City Council on Monday.
The single-storey building, on the site of Glancy’s Garage on Peter Street and Henrietta Street, a fusion of glass, granite and pressed metal, is further evidence of the City Council’s commitment to the Viking Quarter project.
With that in mind, Councillors praised the Council’s Executive for their role in the project and wished the former Crystal employees (Tony Hayes, Danny Murphy, Richard Rowe and Derek Smith) every success in their new venture.
The project, by Elliott Design, has been described as a welcome addition to the Cathedral Square area, a long neglected part of the city which the Council is intent on remedying over the coming months.
With Waterford City Enterprise Board also ‘on board’ with the new building, this development is further proof of the joined-up thinking that has been heavily evident around the city in recent months.
Tagged as an “incubation shop for craft workers” by Senior Planner John Andrews, the option to add a second floor to the building should the demand arise, shouldn’t prove problematic, he said. This is primarily due to the fact that the Council owns the adjoining building.
Coloured glass, a venture unique to Waterford, shall be produced in the new building, where two furnaces (180 kg and 60 kg respectively) shall be housed.
The blowers are also in the process of acquiring equipment from the Waterford Crystal factory in Kilbarry.
The venture will be based in the new building for four years before being transferred to the former ESB building on The Mall, currently being redeveloped as the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre.
By then, with the iconic riverside building on The Quay hopefully in place, the Visitor Centre shall transfer to the Quayside, freeing up The Mall site as a new craft and manufacturing facility.
“We have spoken a lot and heard a lot about Cathedral Square and what needs to be done there over the past few years, so to see something finally being done in this area can only be welcomed,” said Cllr David Cullinane.
“It is great to see the Council weighing in behind those committing to this entrepreneurial venture, and I also wish to acknowledge the support that the Enterprise Board has also provided to this excellent development.”
Cllr Jack Walsh thanked City Manager Michael Walsh, his Executive colleagues and the Enterprise Board “for putting their money where their mouths are” through this project.
As for Cathedral Square proper, City Council Director of Service Fergus Galvin said that owners of certain premises in the area had now been identified.
It is now hoped that agreement will be reached in the coming months with the relevant parties so as to commence the Square’s long-awaited revamp.