Waterford’s North Quays Development

February 16, 2018
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The National Planning Framework, announced today, paves the way for the largest development in the history of Waterford. It is also one of the largest single developments ever in Ireland. The upcoming projects will see close on half a billion euros being spent. Much of this will be spent in the local economy. We’ve taken a detailed look at the company behind the develpment and what their plans are for Waterford’s North Quays.

Firstly, who’s behind the development:

Fawaz Alhokair is the largest franchise retailer in Saudi Arabia, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Caucasus regions. They have over 2600 stores, 600,000 m2 of retail space and 116 brands. These well known brands include Zara, Banana Republic, Aldo, GAP, Marks & Spencer and many more. The company is also responsible for 25 urban regeneration projects across 20 countries including Cascina Merlata and Concordia Milanosetso in Italy.

The Project

The South East has 40% less retail space per capita than other regions, around 50,000 sqm or 5,000 jobs. Over 5,000 young people leave the region each year, 50,000 in the last 10 years. This project is seen as a huge step in stopping the regional brain drain and providing up to 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Waterford’s North Quays project is seen to be a regeneration catalyst for the City and Region and the establishment of a sustainable modern city quarter. It will also include a Transport interchange (bus/train/greenway) that will be the first of its kind in Ireland when it interlinks with the food hall area.

National Planning Framework

Waterford’s North Quays Development

This development will add 30,000 sqm of residential as well as enough office space for 800 people, a 200 bed 4 star hotel and convention space and 300 new apartments.

  • Maximum of 25-30% comprise of 1 bedroom apartments
  • Maximum of 10-12% of units comprise of studio apartments
  • Maximum of 50-60 % comprise of 2 bedroom apartments
  • Maximum of 15-18% comprise of 3 bedroom apartments

Overall the development will have up to:

  • 7,000 sqm of food and beverage space
  • 15,000 sqm office space
  • 15,000 sqm hotel and conference centre
  • 15,000 sqm of Tourism, cultural, light industry and community space

The funding approved in the National Planning Framework will develop the infrastructure needed to sustain such a huge development. This includes relocating the rail and bus services to the new transport hub, new roads and a pedestrian, cycling and public transport bridge. The new bridge will be located at the clock tower. There has also been a suggestion of the House of Waterford Crystal moving to a bespoke facility  within Waterford’s North Quays creating a new tourism hub in the city. This vision would see Waterford’s tourism trade grow from 280,000 international visitors per year to almost one million.

Waterford City Development

The area will also have a minimum of 20% public space including a 10 meter wide riverside promenade, a public plaza and various recreation spaces.

The rumoured timeline for development:

  • Detailed designs completed end of 2018
  • Construction contracts award Q1 2019
  • Construction begins Q2 2019 April
  • Construction completes Q1 2021
  • Handover & opening of retail, offices & visitor experience centre Mid 2021

Waterford's North Quays

What does all of this mean?

We see the development of Waterford’s North Quays, and that of the Michael Street Shopping Centre, creating enormous demand for residential property in Waterford city and surrounding townlands. The 300 apartments in this development will house around 620 people. Overall this could account for just 6% of the housing required if 10,000 direct and indirect jobs are created in the region.

The uplift in footfall through the city centre will have a dramatic effect on the main shopping streets. We predict this will reduce the amount of vacant units and create further demand for small and medium units to suppliment the areas between these two new shopping centres.

Waterford Council have done an enormous amount of work in planning for the infrastructure and transport needed if this project is to be a success. The approval of funding in the National Planning Framework and changes already made to traffic flows in and around the city centre are the first steps. This will ensure Waterford has the capacity to grow to a city of over 75,000 in the next decade.

Projected increases in the number of international tourists, up to two million annually, will have a significant impact. At present, there are about 1200 bed-night available in Waterford. This will increase to 1,500 with the completion of Waterford’s North Quays development. We project a total requirement of closer to 2,000 bed-nights to meet demand in the next 5-10 years. In real terms, this means the construction of a further two or three 4 star hotels in and around the city centre.

The increase in disposable income from the construction and fulltime jobs will create a surge in demand for entertainment options in the city. Family entertainment facilities as well as bars, nightclubs and restaurants will likely see an increase in patronage. We forsee an increase of after work socialising and increase in people choosing to go out across the week, not just at weekends. It will only be a matter of time before some of the shuttered venues and pubs reopen to take advantage of the uptick in business.

Waterford is on the cusp of revolutionary change with a rejuvenated city centre and burgeoning city suburbs and we at Sherry FitzGerald John Rohan look forward to being part of that change.

You can view the full planning scheme here: http://www.waterfordcouncil.ie/media/planning/waterford-sdz/North-Quay-SDZ-Round2-Final-Digital.pdf

You can view the National Planning Framework here: http://www.gov.ie/en/project-ireland-2040