Creative hub and Cunningham progress imminent

Ebrington clock tower.
Ebrington clock tower.

Ilex says it will appoint an operator for the long-awaited Creative Hub in Ebrington within weeks after the deadline for tenders closes on Wednesday (April 23).

It’s one of several signs of the progress being made in realising the development framework for the landmark city centre site.

A spokesperson for Ilex told the Sentinel: “The closing date for the receipt of tenders for the Creative Hub at Buildings 80 and 81 is Wednesday, April 23, and we hope to appoint an operator in the weeks thereafter.”

Last October Ilex Chief Executive, Mel Higgins, confirmed buildings 80 and 81 were already refurbished as incubation units for the creative industries and so it’s expected an operator will be able to occupy the buildings as soon as the winning tender is selected.

Meanwhile, revellers visiting the Ebrington fun fair this week will also notice lease advertisements for a new café and retail unit in Buildings 57 and 59, and high specification commercial workshop units in Buildings 70.

According to the property consultancy, BTW Shiells, Buildings 57 and 59 buildings are to be fully refurbished as high specification 40 seater café and retail accommodation.

Building 70 - between the Clock Tower and the building formerly occupied by the Culture Company - will also be developed as a new high specification office.

Ilex told the Sentinel: “Funding approval is in place to develop buildings 57, 59 and 70, and we anticipate having both projects refurbished and ready for occupancy by the end of 2014.”

Bypassers of the Ebrington site will also have noticed significant progress at the new underground car park between the parade ground and King Street.

Formwork and concreting has progressed to such a point that masons are now applying decorative facework to the proposed car park, which has added significance in terms of the creation of a vibrant Ebrington.

For example, planning approval for a bar and restaurant in the Cunningham Building - facing onto Ebrington Terrace - has already been secured. Once the underground car park is completed nearby, that will be ready to go.

A spokesperson for Ilex told the Sentinel, the facility is nearly ready, advising: “The Ebrington car park and enabling platform is scheduled for completion in July.”

The spokesperson said: “We have also brought the former Venue site back into use. Prior to the Venue being in place for 2013, this area was closed off for public access, but will now be available for additional event use.”

During the Lark in the Park the new space will be used for vehicle scrutiny, a vehicle service area for the cars, and as an exhibition area.

Ilex also points to the fact that the Ebrington Development Framework (EDF) process has also been completed following two stages of consultation.

The EDF sets out the framework for the comprehensive development of the full 26 acre site, in line with the One Plan.

The spokesperson said: “April is a particularly busy month for Ebrington Square, with almost 6,000 people attending the Circus, whilst Cullens Fun Fair will be situated on the Square from Fri 18th – Sun 27th April.”