A 16-week demolition programme is set to get underway at the North Quays in Waterford this week that will see eight large structures and a number of smaller buildings removed – clearing the landmark riverside site for future development.
The buildings to be demolished on the land-bank owned by Waterford City & County Council include four linked to a major milling operation once run by Odlums and a series of large silos and other structures that were used by animal feed ingredients suppliers R&H Hall Ltd. These include a huge riverfront building on which a large banner was installed to promote Waterford’s hosting of The Tall Ships’ Races in 2011.
A 110-year-old nine-storey building within the R&H Hall complex is being retained by the Council for its heritage value as one of the oldest surviving steel-reinforced concrete structures in Ireland. The building was completed in 1905 using methods developed in the late 19th Century by Frenchman, Francois Hennebique.
Speaking during a site visit as preparatory work for the demolitions commenced, Cllr John Cummins, Mayor of Waterford City & County, said: “The work now beginning on the North Quays between Frank Cassin Wharf and the North Wharf will remove what has long been regarded as an eyesore in Ireland’s oldest city, especially since most port-related activity relocated to Belview in 1993.
“In many ways though, the site clearance between now and early 2016 is just the first phase of the renewal story as the really exciting thing for me is the opportunity that this site – once cleared - will present for future development on the north-side of the river Suir which has for too long been an underutilised asset in our city.
“An exciting vision is emerging for the development of high-end office accommodation on this unique waterfront site that will then be linked to the existing city centre with a pedestrian bridge. In their day, the silos and mills that are now being demolished were a key part of Waterford’s economy – this prominent site can play that role again for this and future generations.”
Demolition Services Ireland Ltd of Derry are the main contractors for the complex project being overseen for Waterford City & County Council by Malone O’Regan Consulting Engineers.
Given the site’s extensive river frontage and with some of the largest buildings on manmade wharves, a range of measures are being taken to protect the Suir during the demolition programme while extra steps are also being taken to safeguard the Hennebique building that is being preserved.
The first phase of the works will concentrate on removing asbestos and waste electrical and electronic equipment from across the site so that it is safe to commence the main phases of the demolition. With a range of specialist equipment to be used during the works, it is envisaged that no more than 10 contractors will work on the site at any one time over the 16-week period.