An independent report into the redevelopment of Waterford’s North Quays, which was published this afternoon, has found that the project would have a significant positive impact on both tourism and foreign direct investment.
Waterford City and County commissioned the report from the economic consultancy firm Indecon, in a bid to secure the over 60 million euro in capital funding required to progress the development.
The Saudi firm Al Hokair have also have sought to invest 300 million euro into the project.
The public investment would see the Council construct a pedestrian bridge joining the North Quays area to the existing city centre, develop a transport hub, widen roads to facilitate better city centre access, and refurbish and extend the existing public realm.
The proposed private sector development will comprise of the construction of offices, retail, car parking, accommodation and tourism investment including a conference/exhibition facilities, hotel, and visitor’s centre.
The main benefits outlined relate to the increased levels of tourism and foreign investment and some more limited benefits arising from the construction industry.
Some of it’s key findings include:
-Tourism numbers in the South East region would increase by 50% as a result of the redevelopment project.
-Overseas tourism visitors to the South East region would increase to over €1.5m as a result of the proposed project, an increase in annual tourism expenditures to the South East of around €145m.
-The report indicates that businesses believe the redevelopment project will increase Foreign Direct Investment in the South East by up to 43%
However, Indecon’s cost benefit analysis suggests that only 25% of the expected increase in FDI arising from the project will be realised.
It’s also thought that the project could lead to 1,000 construction jobs and 2,300 permanent jobs in retail, tourism and knowledge based enterprise, but that that will pale in comparison to the future potential delivery.