Sunday, 19 October 2008

Boston may hold answer to city's housing woes

A delegation of Dublin City councillors and officials will travel to Boston next month with a view to radically redesigning the type of public housing the council provides in the capital.

The officials will view Harbor Point, a mixed-income rental complex mooted as the template to replace the aborted reconstruction agreements with developer Bernard McNamara in two of Dublin's public-private partnership projects. Both ran aground last May.

An invitation to visit the Harbor Point complex was extended to Dublin City Council by US developer Corcoran Jennison, which is jointly negotiating with Irish construction companies Bennett and Pierse, as the original under-bidders to McNamara, for the Dominick Street and St Michael's Estate projects.

Harbor Point, which was built in 1990, comprises 1,283 apartments occupied by both public and private tenants on an equal footing. Its $250m (€183m) redevelopment cost was financed by a package of private and public loans and private equity, including tax credits.

The complex is managed by elected residents and Corcoran Jennison, which is proposing the same equal-status rental blueprint for Dublin.

Final proposals for the redevelopment of St Michael's Estate and Dominick Street were submitted to Dublin City Council by Bennett/Corcoran Jennison and Pierse/Corcoran Jennison on Friday 10 October.

"We intend to visit their projects as part of our examination of delivering social and affordable housing in the five (PPP) projects and in the wider sense of delivering social and affordable housing throughout the city," according to a statement from Dublin City Council.

Plans for O'Devaney Gardens beside the Phoenix Park, where four blocks of flats are due to be demolished imminently, have, however, been scrapped.

Sunday Tribune

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