Diageo has offered to sell St Francis Abbey Brewery in Kilkenny city to the local authorities for E2.1 million, writes Sean Keane. The 10.6 acre site on the table does not include the Victorian buildings fronting the site on to Parliament Street or the actual St Francis Abbey (a national monument which is in state ownership). County and City manager Joe Crockett told councillors this morning that the lands had been independently valued on the council’s behalf and that the price was in keeping with the advice received on the basis of town centre buildings.
Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny City Borough Council have already put aside E300,000 towards the acquisition and it is open to the County Council to provide some E500,00 from expected land sales in the Kilkenny city area.
It has been estimated that repayments on the loan of E1.3 million would be in the region of E125,00 per annum over 15 years.
The matter will have to be put formally to both local authorities and seek sanction from Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan who is from Kilkenny and who. it is understood, is well disposed towards the deal
The acquisition process would have to have regard to discussions currently underway between unions representing staff at the brewery and would also be subject to the site being cleared and remediated in accordance with a plan agreed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and subject to limited brand uses.
The lands are currently zoned industrial and a review of that zoning will begin on June 16 with public consultation a major part of it.
Mr Crockett concluded by stating that the site is of strategic importance to the economic and social development of the city and county and he recommended that both councils acquire the lands.