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Plans unveiled for €380m iconic riverside development in Waterford

A planning application is to be lodged with Waterford City Council shortly for 'Water Haven', a €380m mixed use urban quarter on the 13-acre site of a former iron foundry beside the River Suir at Bilberry in the city.

Creating 400 jobs during construction and a similar number on completion, the ambitious scheme – proposed by local developer William Bolster of Bolster Group – will feature an iconic 119-metre, 32-storey building with 22 floors of apartments above 10 floors of offices.

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This building will also house a 'sky view' area offering unprecedented views of Waterford city, east Co Waterford and south Co Kilkenny while an eye-catching 20-metre high roof feature will echo the elegant design of the nearby cable stay bridge included in the Waterford City Bypass.

Identified as an opportunity site in the Waterford City Development Plan 2007-2013, the brown-field former Waterford Stanley lands will also accommodate a 15-storey, 156-bedroom hotel along with underground parking, restaurants, smaller office units and duplex apartments.

In addition, the hotel will have a large conference centre capable of accommodating 500 delegates and helping make Waterford a more attractive venue for business tourism. The hotel and apartment building will be linked at the 10th floor to the taller office and apartment building. The 55 sq m area linking the buildings will itself be a striking design feature and partly available as a unique meeting venue.

A state-of-the art leisure and fitness centre will include a gymnasium, spa and swimming pool while the scheme also includes marinas with 80 berths.

An extension of the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway to allow the train run to the site of the former Waterford South railway station at Bilberry is also being facilitated by the design team which is led by Waterford-based CJ Falconer & Associates, Chartered Architects & Planning Consultants. The railway works will also leave open the possibility of light rail ultimately running along Waterford's south quays.

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The residential component of the entire development has been specifically designed to ensure a wide mix of occupancy with the 395 apartments designed and sized to suit families as well as couples, sharers and sole occupants living in a secure environment. One-bedroom apartments will range from 70-72 square metres; two-bedroom from 92-103 sq m and three-bedroom from 120-129 sq m. Three-bedroom penthouses will cover 170 sq m. There will also be safe play areas for children in the development which applies sustainable development principles throughout.

Speaking about the project, William Bolster of the Bolster Group said the site provided an opportunity to create a new gateway to Waterford.

"With work continuing at a great rate on the Waterford City Bypass including the 2nd river crossing just upriver from our site, there will be a whole new experience for those approaching Waterford by rail and road within the next couple of years.

What we plan for Bilberry will be a key element in Waterford presenting a more confident face to people arriving in our city.

"The taller iconic buildings are also a bold statement about Waterford's ambitions and confidence as gateway to the southeast while it is a plus of our scheme that it will bring a disused former industrial site in to appropriate 21st Century life. This will help enhance Waterford's appeal as a genuine riverside city and meets the sustainability objectives of strengthening the city's core and making the best use of available lands.

"We are also very pleased with the mix of residential, office, leisure and hotel accommodation that our plans provide for as they take advantage of the great riverside location and the site's proximity to the city centre which is within comfortable walking distance.

"There are also opportunities to develop art galleries and appropriate retail, educational and ecclesiastical facilities in this urban quarter while we are very excited at the prospect of having access to/from Kilmeaden by light rail as this also allows our scheme relate to the university campus which is just along the river at Carriganore and to the gardens at Mount Congreve."

- A scale model and images of the Water Haven scheme will be on public display on the ground floor of Maritana Gate, Canada Street, Waterford from 10am-4pm, Wednesday-Thursday, April 23-24; 4-8pm, Friday, April 25 and 11am-3pm, Saturday, April 26.

As featured in Waterford Today: www.waterford-today.ie