Developer Gerry Barrett is seeking the Galway public’s view on a new urban quarter earmarked for CIÉ lands in Galway city centre.

The Irish Times reports that Mr Barrett was recently awarded the contract by CIÉ to develop the 8.2-acre site at Ceannt station off Eyre Square as a new “urban quarter” at an estimated cost of about €450 million.

“Project Ceannt” is described as a focus for one of the largest urban regeneration schemes in the history of the State. It could accommodate several hundred houses/apartments, along with retail, food outlets, a hotel or an arts space, while CIÉ will also upgrade bus and rail facilities.

“A new heart for an old city” is how advertisements for the public consultation describe the project, urging members of the public to become involved in the first phase of consultation on a masterplan before a planning application is made.

CIÉ has imposed a deadline of seven years to design the scheme, secure planning and build it, and it will retain the full use of lands for another two years to allow for relocation of certain buildings.

Mr Barrett recently secured planning approval for an adjoining city centre development, named Bonham Quay, overlooking Galway docks, which he bought for €9 million before the property crash.

Mr Barrett had previously been named preferred bidder to redevelop what was then a larger CIÉ site at Ceannt station of 15 acres, but plans were abandoned in 2012 due to the recession.

He broke away from the National Asset Management Agency when €778 million in loans held by his company, Edward Holdings, were sold off at a considerable discount.

The company had a comprehensive portfolio of retail and hotel properties, including the G Hotel and Meyrick Hotel in Galway, the D in Drogheda, , and Ashford Castle in Cong. The Galway businessman continues to run Scotch Hall Shopping Centre in Drogheda.

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