The former bank building, known as Provincial House on Farnham Street in Cavan Town, is to be developed, not just as a café, but a business start-up hub with the potential to immediately create up to 15 jobs.
Businessman Joe O'Donnell sees Cavan as a prime location when looking to capitalise on a growing need for enterprise services, and the growing trend of young entrepreneurs fleeing more expensive urban centres in search of a lower-cost base.
“Start-ups is my background,” says the Letterkenny-native, owner of multimedia company, SocialBiz Ireland. “We want to help as many young businesses establish themselves in Cavan and hopefully that can feed out. The problem for start-ups is that their initial costs have to be as lean as possible. A lot of people don't have these facilities so we're about providing a place and space to encourage and enhance growth and a one-stop-shop for business services.”
Mr O'Donnell was recently successful in attaining planning permission for what is a protected structure. He plans to spend up to €60,000 refurbishing the building, including changing the use of the existing ground floor to a café.
The networking café, providing grab and go sandwiches, and charging points for mobile phones and laptops, will however act as secondary to graphic design and printing facilities in the basement floor space, as well as hot-desking and fully serviced and supported office space on the upper floors.
“It will be modern but keeping in line with the style of the building, which is 150-years-old, the high ceilings and nice wallpaper,” explains Mr O'Donnell, who has also received the backing of the Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre in developing the proposed venture.
He thinks the region has been poorly “neglected” in some respects to date, telling the Celt: “Cavan to me, right now, seems like geographical oddity. It's so close to all these urban areas but it doesn't seem to have the types of services and even shops that the likes of Letterkenny has.
“But what Cavan has is what makes Cavan work. It's just 50 minutes from Dublin, and the way Dublin is, Cavan is once again becoming part of commuter belt and the need for spaces like this is going is grow.”