Monday 11 October 2010

Council agrees deal for regeneration of city flats

A DUBLIN INNER city flats complex, parts of which date from 1944, is to be the first housing regeneration scheme built in the city through public-private partnership (PPP) since the wholesale collapse of the system in 2008.

Alcove Properties, owned by developer Seán Reilly, has signed up to a deal with Dublin City Council for the regeneration of the Charlemont Street flats.

The project will involve the demolition of almost 200 flats on a five-acre site on Charlemont Street and Tom Kelly Road, most of which were built in the late 1950s apart from one block, Ffrench-Mullan House, which was built in 1944. The vacant site of the former St Ultan’s flats, demolished in 2001, is also part of the development.

Some 260 apartments will be built, 139 of which will be social housing units, 16 will be offered under the affordable housing scheme and the remaining 105 will be private apartments.

Shops, restaurants, a sports centre and a multiplex cinema will be included in the scheme.

Unlike previous social housing developments, it will have a significant office space element of about 20,000sq m.

The scheme will be constructed in five blocks ranging up to eight storeys in height.

Although Alcove has been selected by the council to undertake the project, it still has to go through the normal planning process and last week submitted its planning application to the council.

Given the size of the scheme and the proposed heights of up to eight storeys, an appeal to An Bord Pleanála is likely if the council does, as expected, grant permission for the development.

The council said that while the planning application was still under consideration, it would not be appropriate to comment on why it was again willing to get involved in a PPP project, given that the collapse of the previous schemes in 2008 was principally attributed to the downturn in the property market, which has yet to recover.

The large quantum of office space and the proximity of the development to the central business district is likely to have made this development more attractive than the other PPPs which would have been more heavily reliant on the housing market.

Local Labour councillor Kevin Humphreys said he understood that the financing was in place for the development.

The scheme would be phased, he said, so the social element would be built first, and it was being structured in such a way that residents could continue to live together as a community during construction.

“I think it’s a very hopeful and encouraging sign that we have something like this developing in the city, and I have to commend the council and the developers on their level of engagement and consultation with the community.”

Alcove Properties said it did not wish to comment on the development and were referring all queries on the scheme to the city council.

Irish Times

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