Monday 24 August 2009

Twinlite to build over 200 apartments in Mount Argus scheme

Building firm Twinlite Developments expects to start work on more than 200 apartments at Mount Argus in Dublin early next year after receiving planning approval.

Dublin City Council has granted permission for the development of five apartment blocks at the former Passionist monastery. The blocks will range in height from two to six storeys, and Twinlite is also building a community centre on the site.

Rick Larkin, director of Twinlite, said that the firm expected to go ahead with the development at Mount Argus despite the poor economic environment and an oversupply of apartments in the capital. He said there was proven demand for quality apartments that were well-priced.

The Mount Argus apartments will all have their own balconies or roof terraces, and the development will include a basement car park with 309 spaces and 227 bicycle spaces. It will also incorporate more than 1,000 square metres of solar panels.

Twinlite bought the 5.7 acre Mount Argus site in March last year for about €20 million. As well as the apartment blocks, it has sought permission to develop a mixture of apartments, duplexes and townhouses in the 1860s monastery building. The firm has to keep the facade of the building, but has met opposition to the development.

The company is also waiting on a ruling from An Bord Pleanála on its plans for a €100million indoor ski resort and sports centre.

The plan to build Snowtopia at Tyrrelstown in Dublin was rejected by Fingal County Council earlier this year, but Twinlite appealed to An Bord Pleanála, which is due to decide by September 8.

Larkin said that Twinlite was ready to ‘‘press ahead’’ with the Snowtopia development if it was granted planning permission. He said that the firm had already agreed funding from a number of foreign banks, and it should not be affected by the credit crunch.

However, he said that the company, which is behind the 2,000-unitTyrrelstown scheme, had cut costs in a number of areas in response to the downturn. It has recently taken back the running of its Park Plaza hotel in Tyrrelstown from management firm Hotel Partners to save money.

‘‘The hotel business is very, very difficult - and we are suffering like anyone else,” said Larkin. Twinlite also has developments in London, which will be ‘‘the centre of the business’’ in the future.

‘‘Prices got totally out of hand in Dublin,” he said. New figures for Twinlite’s building contracting company show a 41 per cent fall in turnover to €11.7 million in the 12 months to the end of August 2008.The firm made a pre-tax profit of €234,000, but said it was ‘‘difficult to determine the financial impact’’ of the economic downturn and credit crunch.

Sunday Business Post

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