Sunday 11 December 2016

Mulryan: State needs to release land for housing

Ronald Quinlan, Commercial Property Editor

Published 09/10/2016 | 02:30

Ballymore Group chairman and CEO Sean Mulryan, centre, Ballymore’s UK managing director John Mulryan, left, and Oxley Holdings chairman Ching Chiat Kwong inspect a model of Dublin Landings, at the development’s launch last Thursday morning at the CHQ in Dublin’s docklands
Ballymore Group chairman and CEO Sean Mulryan, centre, Ballymore’s UK managing director John Mulryan, left, and Oxley Holdings chairman Ching Chiat Kwong inspect a model of Dublin Landings, at the development’s launch last Thursday morning at the CHQ in Dublin’s docklands

Ballymore boss Sean Mulryan has called on the Government to release land that it controls in the Greater Dublin area and to enter into joint ventures with the country's housebuilders in order to address the deepening housing crisis.

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Speaking to the Sunday Independent at the launch last Thursday morning of Dublin Landings, the one-million-square-foot office and residential development Ballymore is building in partnership with the Singapore-based Oxley Holdings, Mulryan warned there would be "very little improvement" in terms of housing supply until the State freed up land that he said was currently "tightly-held".

While the Roscommon-born builder said first-time home buyers should be given some help in this Tuesday's Budget, the issue of land supply needed to be "seriously" addressed.

He said: "The supply of land in the greater Dublin area is not there for the housebuilder. I know many housebuilders and they just don't have enough land. It's not available and it's tightly-held. The Government are in control of land with the local authorities, and public bodies control a lot of land in the greater Dublin area.

"I think seriously, that they need to start releasing it and doing joint ventures with housebuilders who would deliver the product. Until they do that, it (the housing situation) is going to be the way that it is right now. There's going to be very little improvement on the supply side."

Mulryan said he didn't see any "major problem" with the planning regulations, notwithstanding the concerns expressed by some commentators on the subject.

"The infrastructure is there for the land. It's just a matter of getting the land released so people like myself and my peers in the housebuilding sector who I know very well and talk to (can build homes). They're all having the same problem. They just can't get their hands on the land to build," he added.

Turning to the subject of the commercial sector, Mulryan expressed satisfaction that the supply of office space coming onstream in Dublin was appropriate to meet current and future demand.

He said: "There's a lot of office space coming, but it's hugely important for the economy if we're hoping to attract inward investment,that high quality offices are available for international companies to come and look at, to see where they can put their people. I think it's good to see all this office space coming on."

Asked what his expectations were for Dublin in terms of attracting UK companies as a result of Brexit, he said: "I think it will be demand for back office space. We have spoken to some of the banks in the UK. They don't know what they're doing yet. I believe it will be a small number. But I suppose if you got 2,000 or 3,000 jobs in from London into Dublin, it would be significant for Dublin."

Mulryan confirmed that he had spoken to Oxley Holdings chairman Ching Chiat Kwong about the major development opportunity presented by the former Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend.

Commenting on the economic outlook for Ireland, he said: "We have learned hard lesssons, but we're creating jobs and the economy is starting to grow. I don't think it's going to go crazy. I think it's going to be steady as it goes. If we could get 4pc growth per annum, then the future looks bright."

Sunday Independent

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