Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, Billy Murphy, Cathaoirleach Eamon Aylward with Colette Byrne during the launch of the Abbey Quarter Project
The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys has said the Brewhouse and Mayfair buildings on the former brewery site will prove highly attractive to local and foreign investors when they are renovated into ‘top class’ office accommodation.
The Minister was speaking in Kilkenny, where she formally launched the Abbey Quarter scheme and confirmed €12.3 million in development loan finance through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF). She said Kilkenny had ‘come on leaps and bounds’ in recent times, and this initiative is an opportunity to build on that.
“Crucially, it means the city will have a new quarter with top class office accommodation only an hour from the M50,” she said.
“This will be hugely attractive to indigenous and foreign investors alike, with an interest in basing themselves in the ninth-friendliest city in the world.”
Absolutely delighted to visit beautiful #Kilkenny this morning with @JPPhelan to launch the Abbey Quarter development, which is receiving €12.3m in loan development finance through the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to create top class office space. A great day for Kilkenny! pic.twitter.com/Ax0CgIz6w2— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) July 4, 2018
With ‘Phase One’ of the scheme now under way, the focus will turn to the delivery of new buildings on the site for ‘mixed use’, providing for ‘enterprise, arts, creativity, education, retail and residential’.
Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council Colette Byrne said the announcement puts the focus on the renovation of the Mayfair and Brewhouse buildings. However, she said it also triggers the development of the public realm development, with around €4 million to be spent on public spaces, squares and a new riverside park.
Ms Byrne said the vision was for the site to be ‘a bustling place, home to many creative enterprises, as alive at eight in the evening as eight in the morning’, and that it would be a place where people would live, work, study and enjoy — ‘a place with a lively evening economy with cafes and eateries opening onto a riverside park, with walkers, joggers, cyclists’.
Former home of Smithwicks Brewery set to become a vibrant new urban quarter in the heart of Kilkenny City . Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation ,Heather Humphries,TD, launches the Abbey Quarter Development to the media @investkilkenny #AbbeyQuarter @LisneyIreland pic.twitter.com/loQMa2eKIa— Kilkenny Council (@KilkennyNotices) July 4, 2018
Chairman of the Abbey Quarter Partnership Billy Murphy said that entering the partnership had been a wise decision for the council, to not take on a development of such scale alone.
“This decision enables the council to utilise its own resources for other strategic projects for the city and county,” he said.
Mr Murphy said that partnerships were like marriages, in that they must be worked on.
“There will be ups and downs, robust discussions and debates, but once the parties stay true to their agreed vision, much can be achieved,” he said.
“I want to acknowledge the work of the NTMA and Kilkenny County Council in establishing this partnership. It is the first of its kind in Ireland. And if it is successful, which I'm very sure it will be, it will probably be a template for other local authorities.”
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Eamon Aylward said the top two priorities were the delivery of housing and economic development.
Construction is expected to begin on the project in Quarter 4 of this year, following the execution of legal documentation.
The Brewhouse will be the first building to be developed, and will provide a range of flexible ‘grade A’ office options, with letting agent Lisney describing interest already as ‘strong’.