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The "Idle Tower"

Third-generation, "environmentally-friendly" office building — empty

Third-generation office building, empty

When I moved into my apartment on Blackrock Road in Cork city, in early 2010, there was a newly-constructed building below my window. I never noticed any activity there.

From what I could see of the rooms they looked unfinished.

That winter was cold, unusually so for Ireland. On several mornings there was frost on the windows that remained in the shade — a frost that sometimes lasted all day. Clearly the building was not heated — which meant of course that there was also no water, because if there were then heat would be needed to keep it from freezing and causing damage.

The promotional material for the building, called "Phoenix House," says that "the building is finished to an exceptional standard with excellent natural light." The front is made of glass. All the rest of it is built with tiny windows.

Another promotional blurb states that "furthermore, the building will have the benefit of the most energy efficient heating and cooling technologies to ensure minimal environmental impact."

But the building, labeled by the developer as a "third generation office development," stands empty.

Phoenix House was built at a time when the national economy was bubbling explosively, driven by unreasonable speculation in the construction industry. Its presence, now, is hardly what anybody would call "minimal environmental impact" — an empty, unnecessary building.