Building the hub that ties Cork’s future together

With 1 Horgan’s Quay and the Dean Cork already bustling with activity, further developments in the area are ensuring that it will become a space for all

The residental area of Horgan’s Quay will consist of 302 apartments which will house over 800 people

Marking the beginning of the docklands regeneration, the Horgan’s Quay development has become a bastion of activity for a city returning to pre-pandemic life, making it the centrepiece of the docklands.

The core component is 1 Horgan’s Quay, its eight-story office block, and the Dean Cork, a 120-bedroom boutique hotel. Both opened in December 2020 and have been bustling with activity this year.

A crucial element of this is its location. Not only does it make Horgan’s Quay a hub of the docklands, but Cork city itself.

Thanks to its central location, all major public transport services are easily accessible like Kent station, which accommodates over 4,000 journeys per day and is on Horgan’s Quay doorstep, and the bus station in Parnell Place is a short walk away.

Also, it’s only a five-minute walk away from the South Mall, one of the main thoroughfares in Cork city spanning Parnell Place to the Grand Parade meaning all services and amenities are immediately available or nearby.

“With our offices, we have 25,000 sq feet remaining in the Goods Shed in 1 Horgan’s Quay,” Ronan Downing, development director at Clarendon Properties, said. “The Goods Shed benefits from independent access from Station Square and is the centrepiece to the conservation element of the offices.”

“The original trusses were reconditioned and provide a spectacular roof detail on the loft accommodation.”

‘It’s just about building and moving forward and we’re starting to see some return to normality’

Already both buildings have been developing nicely with both 1 Horgan Quay and the Dean hotel being shortlisted for four awards. This includes the RIAI (Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland) shortlisting 1 Horgan’s Quay for the Public Choice Awards for 2022 and the Dean Hotel being shortlisted for the Building and Architect of the Year Awards 2022.

While the activity and accolades are increasing, so too is the construction work. Adding to this solid core is continued construction works on 2 Horgan’s Quay across from the Dean Cork, which will add an additional 130,000 sq ft of best-in-class offices.

It will be available in Q2 2023 and can provide LEED platinum certification in addition to Wired Score Platinum, Downing said.

By the time the entire office element is completed at this north docks location, it will be over half a million square feet and will cater for up to 5,000 people.

Across from 1 Horgan’s Quay is the residential area which will consist of 302 apartments and is expected to house another 800 people on the site. Much of it complements Cork city’s ambition to be a 15-minute city; that is, all amenities and services will be a 15-minute walk or cycle from a person’s home.

Both its current and future additions will only serve to make Horgan’s Quay the city’s central hub.

“It’s a model case for the 15-minute city,” he said. “For public access routes, the proposed light rail will also service the site as it’s designed to take it. That’s much further down the road, but work is ongoing on that, and will be part of the Docklands regeneration programme from Cork City Council.”

“Where we are at Horgan’s Quay will be a hub between the train station, bus station and the light rail service.”

“Each development element will be best in class throughout with residential being built to NZEB standards,” Downing said.

Adjoining the Dean Hotel is the development’s retail building which is where the history of Horgan’s Quay can be felt. Key to its development was the restoration of on-site heritage buildings such as the Goods Shed, Carriage Shed and original station house, which make up the centrepiece of the mixed-use development.

In the 19th century, the Goods Shed saw passenger trains run into it until the Penrose Quay Station opened in 1856, which remained Cork’s principal station for almost 40 years. The Goods Shed contained a series of railway platforms onto which goods could be directly loaded and an office building to its west side.

The Carriage Shed, which was initially used to repair and work on rolling stock, is 17,000 sq feet over two levels. It and the Goods Shed are now part of 1 Horgan’s Quay as part of its efforts to conserve the history and culture of Cork city.

The key to the Carriage Shed is an extensive outdoor seating area designed for outdoor dining. Facing south and west, which provides optimal sunlight throughout the year, the development benefits from an acre and a half of the public realm as part of the scheme. It orientates the building around three open plazas: Railway Square, Station Square and River Square.

Downing was encouraged by the activity already happening on the ground before 2022, and with more people returning to the office and visiting the city, activity only continues to increase.

“The Dean Hotel has been trading very successfully and there’s quite a lot of people visiting the site now,” he said. “We’re looking to get interest from convenience store retailers, bars and restaurant-type services.”

And key to that is the accessibility of the hub, not just for those in the city, but in the region too. A person commuting from a town like Midleton would be able to arrive in Horgan’s Quay in about 20 minutes, opening up possibilities for people to access its facilities from all parts of the region.

“On-site on Horgan Quay, we’re ticking the boxes with amenities,” Downing said. “The hotel is there; there’s the rooftop restaurant with Sophie’s in the Dean. We’re trying to bring more of that offer with the Carriage Shed and the open space.”

The Horgan’s Quay hub is designed to revitalise the Cork docklands and as the start of its major regeneration project, it’s expected to bring the area into a new era.

“It’s just about building and moving forward and we’re starting to see some return to normality,” he said.

“People are returning to the office, the numbers are much higher and while a lot of them are doing just three days a week, you’re still getting the same number of people visiting the building every week, just not for the entire week.”