A PLANNING application is to be lodged today for a substantial residential development on part of the extensive grounds of the Redemptorist congregation at Orwell Road in Rathgar, Dublin 6. The 8.1 acres will accommodate 275 houses and apartments, a smaller monastery and a new public park.
Architect O’Mahony Pike has completed a master plan for the entire Marianella site where the congregation has been based since the 1930s. The new development will not exceed the height of the existing buildings.
Fifteen months ago, the Redemptorists received 11 proposals from developers interested in redeveloping the grounds on a joint venture basis. Bill Nowlan of WK Nowlan and Associates, who is advising the order, said that while they chose a preferred partner to carry out the development, “negotiations floundered as a result of the financial crises in the marketplace”. It was now planned to secure planning permission and then review the situation.
The planning application will provide for a smaller monastery and chapel, likely to cost around €10 million, to meet the community’s needs. It will be the first new monastery to be built in this country in the 21st century. A quarter of the entire site will be set aside for a public park and there will be about 43 residential units for social and affordable owners.
The Marianella grounds would have been valued at around €10 million an acre in the boom conditions of a few years ago but, with the collapse in the new homes market and the continuing credit squeeze, the likelihood is that land values are now below €5 million an acre.
The Redemptorists probably take the view that by securing planning permission and other necessary consents, they will be in a position to go to the market once the first signs emerge of a recovery. Orwell Road is a leafy, mature location of great appeal both to first-time buyers and families trading up from less popular areas.
A spokesperson for the Redemptorists said that, in common with other religious orders, they had suffered a decline in vocations which was impacting on the size of the accommodation they required for their current needs. He stressed that since the community was remaining at Marianella, alongside the residents of the new houses and apartments, they would be committed to ensuring both the quality and timely delivery of the overall project.
The spokesman said that the proceeds from the site will be committed to developing their pastoral work and resources in various centres through Ireland, increasing the number of qualified lay and salaried people who will work with them in their ministry, training future and present Redemptorist students, and providing care for the growing number of elderly and sick priests and brothers.