Developers with housing estates lying empty in Dublin are set for a huge fillip. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has circulated a requirement for 1,000 student residential units by September 2010, and possibly as many as 3,500 by 2020.
The student residences and associated facilities must be close to the university "or near a public transport system facilitating a maximum commute of approximately 30 minutes", according to documents circulated by the university last week. That means areas as far away as Sandyford and Dun Laoghaire in the south of Dublin and Howth in the north could be considered because of the Luas and the Dart. Large parts of the docklands and Poolbeg would also be suitable.
"The accommodation may be new purpose-built or existing accommodation, modified if necessary, to satisfy the university's requirements," the documents state. Undeveloped sites will also be considered.
"They could possibly get the residences for below build cost," one expert said last week, citing the fall in property values, the number of residential developments lying vacant and some developers' desperate need for working capital.
Consultants Bruce Shaw are handling the process for the university and TCD has said the contract for the chosen sites "will include any required design and other services necessary for its procurement and may also include options for full operation and/or financing".
A contract notice relating to the need for the student accommodation is expected to be published in the second quarter of this year.