Monday 21 September 2009

Student residences proposed for €412m Irish Glass Bottle site

The most expensive site in the history of the state, the €412m Irish Glass Bottle site, could ultimately be used to house up to 1,000 third-level students.

The owners of the site in Poolbeg, Dublin, are understood to have expressed an interest in providing about 1,000 bed spaces in student residences for Trinity College Dublin (TCD) on part of the site. The site is owned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA), developer Bernard McNamara and retired property syndicator Derek Quinlan.

The site is facing a hefty writedown in value in the coming weeks after land prices fell 70% in the downturn. In addition, Bernard McNamara and his company Donatex are suing the DDDA in relation to interest payments on the site, where about €30m has been spent on decontamination. The first phase of the South Wharf site is to include one million square feet of office space and about 1,250 apartments.

TCD had initially signalled that it was looking for 1,000 student residential units by September 2010, and possibly as many as 3,500 by 2020.

However, when the tender was published it was changed to 1,000 bed spaces. A spokeswoman for Trinity College said "there has been a substantial response and the submissions are currently being evaluated".

The sites submitted must be located within a 30-minute peak-time commute of the college by a frequent public-transport system. Alternatively it must be located within 2.5km of TCD's campus.

In addition, each site should be large enough to accommodate a minimum of 350 student bed spaces unless they are within 500 metres of the main campus or the Trinity Hall student residences in Dartry, south Dublin. In that case the minimum requirement for the site reduces to 150 bed spaces.

The university may require the successful bidder to design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) the new accommodation and associated facilities. "The project may also include the supply of a site or a site and existing buildings and the provision of finance for the proposed solution," the tender stated. The university is also considering using the DBOM with its own sites but this is unlikely to happen unless there are insufficient qualified candidates for the other options.

McNamara has built a number of the buildings within TCD's campus.

Sunday Tribune

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