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28/10/2021

€27 million 'transformative investment' announced for Waterford City Centre Regeneration project

€27 million 'transformative investment' announced for Waterford City Centre Regeneration project

€27.66 million funding boost for the Waterford City Centre Regeneration project

Waterford City and County Council has received a funding boost of €27.66 million for the Waterford City Centre Regeneration project.

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD and the Minister of State with responsibility for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan have announced €74 million in funding for regeneration projects in the South East investment region of Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford.

The projects are being funded under Call 2 of the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund (URDF).

The URDF part-funds projects aimed at enhancing urban areas to make them more attractive places in which to live, work, visit and invest. The four local authorities, which will deliver these multi-annual projects, will receive this funding.  

The other projects for which URDF support have been approved are:

  • Public Realm and Pedestrian Linkage Project Carlow Town (Carlow County Council) – €9.79 million
  • Abbey Quarter Phase 2 (Advancement Project) (Kilkenny County Council) – €11.46 million
  • Trinity Wharf (Wexford County Council) – €18.49 million
  • Kilkenny City Centre Enhanced Liveability Project – €6.64 million

Waterford City Centre Regeneration 

The National Planning Framework contains an objective of Waterford becoming a Regional City of Scale, driving regional growth. This project consists of the important regeneration of the Historic Core and implementation of the Strategic Public Realm Plan.

The project is based on a series of planned city centre brownfield site proposals and includes works to create a cultural hub, a business hub and the reuse of key sites. It involves a wide range of interventions that will provide an attractive ‘live, work and play environment’ to draw people back into Waterford city centre in order to bring social, economic and cultural vibrancy.

The concept is to cross a ‘tipping point’ whereby the city centre will provide jobs and sustain itself into the future.

The project focuses on two of Waterford City’s quarters - the Cultural Quarter and the Viking Triangle. The works are:

  • Cultural Quarter: Strategic site assembly in key locations. This will enable various developments including gallery and artists’ space, community venue and education centre,  a creative industries incubation hub, public realm works, pocket parks, and development of outdoor performance space.
  • Viking Triangle: Strategic site assembly in key locations to enable various developments including public realm works, a public park and mixed-use developments.

The €27.66 million in approved funding is in addition to €82.79 million in approved URDF funding for two Call 1 projects: Waterford City and Environ – North Quays and Tramore Town Centre.  The total URDF funding approved to date is €110.45 million. 

'VERY SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT' 

Deputy Marc O'Cathasaigh said the funding is  a "very significant investment" for Waterford City, following on from the funding of the North Quays development,

"The development of a Cultural Quarter centred around O'Connell Street will breathe new life into an area of our city that has been much neglected in recent times, reanimating our urban spaces and bringing life back into our urban core. Likewise, the Friary Precinct will build on the success and the high standards of public realm set in the Viking Triangle," he said. 

He said Waterford City and County Council deserves "huge praise" for the quality of the proposal that was put forward for this funding. 

"It was a big ask to secure this funding so soon after the investment in the North Quays, but the strength of the proposal allowed me to make a strong case to my Cabinet ministers. I'm very hopeful that we'll see Waterford recover and thrive as we come out of this Covid crisis, and really re-establish itself as the capital of the South East," he added. 

'TRANSFORMATIVE' 

Senator John Cummins has hailed the "transformative investment". 

"Under the high level plan, Waterford City and County Council expect to spend nearly €12 million on seven projects in the wider Viking Triangle area including the creation of a new Friary Precinct, which would complete and compliment the excellent work that has been undertaken in the area over the past decade," Senator Cummins said.

“There has been enormous investment in the Viking Triangle area over the past decade and it has transformed before our very eyes. Bailey’s New Street with the wonderful backdrop of Greyfriars and the Viking Sword is an amazing space, but the plans to create a further plaza to the rear of Parade Quay linking it with Greyfriars is very clever. Not only would it provide fantastic city centre living and allow businesses to open on to the newly created Friary Square, it would complete the area brilliantly.

"I’m also very excited about the potential of opening up full views of our city walls with a linear park along Spring Garden Alley. Such a development would be a great amenity for the residents and those who traverse the street on their way to and from the Apple Market area.

"In the wider Cultural Quarter area, Waterford City and County Council expect to spend €36.6 million on 15 projects including  the creation of an upgraded shared space along O’Connell Street linking the whiskey distillery to the city centre, the creation of two new plaza areas on the entrance into the city over Rice Bridge and surrounding the Beech Tower, the acquisition and renovation of the likes of 3/4 George’s Street and 25 O’Connell Street to be used for a productive innovation hub and creative arts studios, and the provision of much needed city centre housing with the redevelopment of the Clarendon Court apartment complex," Senator Cummins added. 

Mayor of Waterford City and County Cllr Damien Geoghegan said the funding allocation allows Waterford City and County Council to "realise the creative and ambitious designs across 20 or more locations in the Cultural Quarter and Viking Triangle".

He added: "Waterford city centre has benefitted from a 20-year public realm investment programme, and this URDF funding will create the necessary opportunities for additional city centre living options alongside and sometimes co-located with creative and innovation hubs consistent with a University City of scale.”

Michael Walsh, chief executive of Waterford City and County Council, welcomed the funding for "this ambitious and transformational project for Waterford City Centre. 

"The allocation of €27.66 million compliments the North Quays allocation of €96 million under the URDF first call and demonstrates the commitment of Government to the development of Waterford as a regional city and meeting the objectives set in Project Ireland 2040.”

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