Tuesday 17 June 2008

Developer 'won't stand in way' of regeneration projects

DEVELOPER Bernard McNamara has told Dublin City Council he has no objection if the authority uses a different building company to complete two stalled social housing schemes.

On Friday, Mr McNamara wrote to the council in relation to proposed regeneration projects at St Michael's Estate, Inchicore, Dublin 8, and Dominick Street, confirming he would not stand in the way if the council went ahead with the next bidder from the original tendering process.

Last month, it emerged that five public private partnership (PPP) deals between Mr McNamara's company, Bernard McNamara and Co, and the council had fallen through because of a row over apartment size and new regulations.

The projects at St Michael's Estate and O'Devaney Gardens (both are joint ventures with Castlethorn Construction), Infirmary Road, Dominick Street and Sean McDermott Street, would see 1,800 new homes built worth €900m.

Assistant city manager Ciaran McNamara wrote to the developer, asking him to withdraw from the projects so that it could approach the PPP under-bidder with a view to striking a deal.

In his reply, Mr McNamara said the city council was free to approach the under-bidder.

Meanwhile, it emerged from Mr McNamara's correspondence with the council that in the case of St Michael's Estate, there were high levels of contamination by naturally occurring selenium in the soil throughout the site -- a complication expected to add significantly to construction costs. The dispute between Mr McNamara and the council arose after new building regulations, which came into force in December 2007, meant apartments had to be bigger.

Dublin City Council estimated the extra financial burden at between €2,500 to €3,000 per unit, but Mr McNamara's estimate was closer to €10,000.

He complained that the new regulations to increase apartment size and impose new energy regulations were brought in after he won the tenders, and meant it was no longer financially viable.

The future for over 250 families who are waiting on a home hangs in the balance until the council finds a solution.

The underbidder in the tendering process is understood to be a joint bid by Corcoran Jennison and Pierce Construction.

Anne-Marie Walsh
Irish Independent


No comments: