Roger Hobkinson, Director, of Destination Consulting and Michael Donohoe, Director of Corporate Solutions for Colliers International in Ireland were invited to the Global Cork Economic Forum last week. Roger Hobkinson commented:

“As Ireland and Cork starts a slow recovery to growth, Colliers International was delighted to be invited to this superb event. We have been working on projects, strategies and initiatives* to help the Cork Region position for future success, there now needs to be concerted partnership action for delivery.”
“Cork with major strengths in high growth business sectors - ICT, Agribusiness, Biopharma, Energy and Tourism - requires a fresh approach to accommodating the future growth opportunities discussed at the Global Cork Economic Forum. Critically it needs to see a rebalance of economic activity towards Cork City Centre.

Significant dispersed development in retail, office, tourism and residential projects has contributed to a challenged City Centre. Priority projects to start in 2014 include the Event Centre, modernisation of office space, development of large floor plate office space in the City Centre and its fringes, Technology and Food business hubs, urban residential, improved retail and a clear compelling place brand and marketing strategy for the Cork Region to help elevate the Cork City Region domestically and especially internationally.

In particular Hobkinson says: “Cork City Centre needs many more “suits on the street”. He explains action is needed to modernise the South Mall as a workplace destination plus delivery of a new modern office district for the Cork and southern region of Ireland. This means large flexible office floor plates in an accessible and high quality city centre environment. This is the type of location large domestic and international businesses are increasingly targeting. In part this is because the talent such businesses want to hire (Generation Y, those domestic and international people born around 1980) want to increasingly work, live and socialise in an attractive city environment not an out of town business park or industrial estate.

The type of new office led Central Business District (CBD), Cork should learn from include those such as Spinningfields in Manchester and Brindleyplace in Birmingham. These two projects have been a key ingredient in the revitalisation of two of the UK’s core cities.”

“One 5,000 sqm office building might accommodate 500 people. Imagine several of these in in the City Centre in the years to come. These are people to help deliver more vitality to the City Centre and through their spending support the retail and hospitality sectors, plus support delivery of better buses, train, cycling and car parking infrastructure.”

“For delivery of these critical projects there will need a refreshing of the structures and approaches in the Cork Region. This will then help to ensure Cork continues to attract and retain businesses plus be seen as an increasingly strong and successful European City Region and a great place to live, visit and invest”.