Sunday 4 December 2016

Council facing bid to block sale of new Priory Hall apartments

Laura Larkin

Published 21/11/2016 | 18:11

Exterior of the Development
Exterior of the Development
Priory Hall bedroom

Dublin City Council is facing a bid to block the sale of some of the Priory Hall apartments.

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Anti Austerity Alliance councillor Michael O’Brien proposed a motion to stop the sale of six apartments to three firms last night.

However, his motion did not win support at a central area committee meeting of DCC and he now plans to raise the same concerns at a full meeting of the council in December.

The first phase of the New Priory development, which has been refurbished at the taxpayers expense went on sale recently, raising some €7m in revenue.

A new priory unit enjoys floor-to-ceiling windows.
A new priory unit enjoys floor-to-ceiling windows.

The sales come five years after the complex was condemned by fire safety inspectors and evacuated by court order.

Because the council moved in to refurbish the firetrap complex the disposal of the properties must be approved by the elected council.

Mr O’Brien said he had no wish to block the 35 people who had bought a home in the redeveloped complex but he found it “perverse” that companies could buy the units.

He is concerned that they will be rented out with the council having no control over the price of the rent or no say in the mixture of tenants in the complex.

He called on the council to return booking deposits to three companies: Gaughran Homes Ltd, Woodview Trading Ltd and Harley Holdings who purchased apartments for between €145,000 and €178,000.

However, Ken MacDonald of Hooke and MacDonald, who handled the sale of the first phase of New Priory, said that it could not be assumed the comapnies bought the units for investment purposes.

“We have always found that sometimes companies are used by purchasers to purchase properties for their family or their children,” he said.

“I don’t think you can take it as a given they were bought for investment purposes,” he said.

Mr MacDonald added that he also did not see a concern if they were in fact bought as rental properties as part of the Government’s housing strategy is to improve the rental market.

A number of councillors at the meeting said they welcomed the report detailing all of the apartments which had been sold, as it signalled a new beginning after a “painful” history.

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