THE Government will prioritise the North Quays regeneration project when it unveils the National Development Plan this Friday, an announcement that will pave the way for the one of the most significant developments in the history of Waterford City, says Senator Paudie Coffey.
Senator Coffey confirmed Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has indicated that the landmark North Quays project will be included as “a priority for investment” in the National Capital Plan, which will be published on Friday.
The North Quays project will create thousands of jobs and transform the landscape of Waterford’s City Centre.
Senator Coffey said: “I am delighted Minister Donohoe has made the North Quays a priority in the National Capital Plan which will ensure significant investment will flow to Ireland’s oldest city. The North Quays development will herald a bright new era in Waterford’s history and will mark the beginning of a new period of growth and prosperity in the city and county, and the entire region. Waterford city has been identified as one of Ireland’s regional cities that is ripe for investment and the Government wants to see the city double in population over the next 20 years. It is by building scale and capacity with projects such as the North Quays that the city will reach its full potential and take its rightful place at the top tier of large urban centers in the South East.”
Fine Gael’s Waterford General Election candidate added: “The time has now come for Waterford and every effort must now be made to finalise the ambitious development plans for the city and bring them to fruition. These are exciting times for Waterford, and I am proud to have played a significant part in helping to ensure the vision for the North Quays project will finally become a reality.”
Senator Coffey also revealed that Minister Donohoe has agreed to visit Waterford to meet with the key stakeholders involved in the project – this he said is “a massive endorsement for the North Quays re-development project”.
He said: “The Minister for Finance has agreed, on my invitation, to meet Council Management and investors Alhokair when he visits Waterford shortly, this meeting will be a significant engagement to plan the delivery of the funding stream for the project to make it happen.”
Senator Coffey played a key role in getting the North Quays project designated as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ) during his time as Minister of State for Housing and Planning. The North Quays is the only SDZ outside of Dublin and was endorsed by the government in 2015 – the SDZ status was critical in attracting the investors as it offers planning certainty and government approval for the site and this gives the necessary confidence for serious investors to invest.
Over the past two years Senator Coffey has continued to work closely as a link between government and Waterford City and County Council and investors’ representatives who have advanced the ambitious investment plans for the site.
In order for work to begin on the North Quays, a €65 million investment by the Government is required for enabling works and critical infrastructure.
This investment will unlock over €300 million of private investment by the Saudi Arabian Fawaz Alhokair Group, which has a portfolio of shopping centres and hotel developments in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
Last week the SDZ planning scheme was adopted and formalised by Waterford City and County Council and will now be presented to An Bord Pleanala for a decision.
The draft document setting out the vision for the North Quays, which includes retail, hotel, housing and office space along with an Integrated Transport Hub, was out for public consultation for six weeks. During that time 47 submissions were received by the Council. If there are no appeals, the planning scheme will take effect in four weeks