3,000 new homes for Dublin city
One of the enduring symbols of the Celtic Tiger property crash will form part of a massive multi-billion euro development that will see at least 3,000 new homes built in the middle of Dublin city.
The Irish Independent has learned that the Government has approved plans by Dublin City Council to create a strategic development zone (SDZ) at Poolbeg, which will result in homes finally being built on the notorious Irish Glass Bottle site.
Bought for more than €400m in 2006, but worth less than €50m today, the site is part of a 34-hectare landbank in Dublin 4 that will benefit from a fast-track planning process.
Housing, Planning and Local Government Minister Simon Coveney said that construction works could begin next year, and the scheme would include homes built across a high-density development zone, close to the city centre.
At least 10pc of the units will be earmarked for social housing, but possibly more than that, he said, adding that the plan would create "city living of real quality".
"We need to create and encourage a demand to live in the city, with city living of real quality, and using the transport networks and infrastructure the State has spent a lot of money on," he said.
"If you focus all your effort in terms of new house building extending into greenbelts, you're increasing the footprint of cities and presenting all sorts of service challenges.
"There will be need for both, but my focus is trying to turn sites with potential in the city into sustainable communities. That's why the SDZ for the Irish Glass Bottle site makes sense," he added.
Three parcels of land are involved - the Irish Glass Bottle site and the adjoining Fabrizia lands, which total almost 15 hectares and are controlled by Nama; a second parcel of 10.7ha and a third tract of 7.5ha, both of which are owned by the Dublin Port Company.
Sources said at least 3,000 homes could be built, along with 130,000 square metres of commercial development. That includes offices, shops, leisure facilities, a hotel, health and childcare facilities and at least two schools across 7,000 square metres.
New port infrastructure will also be included in the plan, said Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamon O'Reilly. "The SDZ provides a fantastic context for proper planning and sustainable development, but planning is not just about residential development," he said. "We have seen a 17pc increase in volumes through the port in the last three years, and within about five years, we'll be looking to develop our lands in the SDZ."
Most of the housing and commercial/retail units are expected to be built on the IGB/Fabrizia site, and will be funded by Nama. The investment is expected to exceed €800m on housing alone, before the commercial and retail development takes place.
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the site was one of the "few remaining opportunities" to deliver a "significant volume of housing" in the city centre, adding that the SDZ gave "certainty" for planning and funding purposes.
Welcoming the decision, Dublin Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh said she would hope to secure up to 30pc of the homes being developed for social housing purposes, and that public consultation was key.
"I don't think 10pc is enough," she said. "We have a crisis in housing, but it's not just social housing. We have couples who both work and can't get their foot on the property ladder, and people who can't rent, and 3,000 units which would go a long way towards addressing the crisis across all sectors."
The SDZ plan is expected to be completed by the autumn, and will be subject to public consultation.
Sources said at least 3,000 homes could be built along with 130,000 square metres of commercial development.