Planning permission has been granted for a €400m mixed-use development, which backers say will transform the long-disused North Quay area of Waterford city.
Confirmation of the planning go-ahead came today from Waterford City and County Council for an eight-hectare site on the northern waterfront of the River Suir, with the potential to create 2,800 long-term jobs.
However, developers Falcon Real Estate Development Ireland say the ball is now in the Government's court in relation to a hoped-for €100m-plus commitment towards the infrastructure elements of the project, including a new bus and rail hub.
They say work could start on the office, residential, commercial and leisure development later this year for a 2023 completion date.
The site was designated as a Strategic Development Zone four years ago and the planning application remained within the parameters of that designation, according to Falcon.
Director Rob Cass said the project will "regenerate and reignite the regional economy and create a better future for the next generation" in the southeast.
"This is the culmination of four years of hard work with a significant effort made by many but particularly, the community and stakeholders of Waterford and the south-east itself," he said.
Falcon says that State investment of €139m in public infrastructure funding will unlock over €350m of private investment, which will deliver €107m in taxes when complete and a total of €272m in taxes during the construction phase.
Late last year, the previous government said it was committed to seeing the North Quay plan going ahead, but no decision had been made on the State funding.
In a statement to RTÉ News, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government said the project is "very complex and high value" and it is "critical that careful consideration is given to its planning and development, and also in order to establish the correct combination of supports required to facilitate its successful advancement and completion".
The department said the project composition, costs, sequencing and requisite supports must be "further clarified" so the "appropriate level" of funding under the urban regeneration development scheme can be established.
Work on the roads aspect of the project has already begun, following an initial commitment of funds from government, but the developers are awaiting more for a new bridge linking the north and south quays in Waterford and a new transport hub, east of the existing Plunkett Station.
The project includes a seven-storey twin office block; five residential buildings up to 17 storeys, including 298 riverside apartments; a 15-storey hotel and conference centre; 30,000 square metres of green and community space; a mixed-use commercial building including shopping, tourism and food outlets, as well as a cinema and creche; restaurants, bars and cafes.
Waterford has long been seen as an under-resourced part of the country, with a succession of major job losses in the late 2000s, culminating in the closure of the Waterford Crystal factory, which once employed thousands of people.
A smaller version of it is now located on The Mall in the city centre.