Saturday 1 October 2016

Development of tricky site is no 'slam dunk'

Published 30/04/2015 | 02:30

The RTÉ campus at Montrose in Dublin 4
The RTÉ campus at Montrose in Dublin 4
The Mast at RTE Montrose which is to become a protected structure.

THE sale of all or part of RTÉ's 30-acre complex for development purposes at the high market values recently bandied about is "certainly no slam dunk" according to one market source. Some have put a market value of €300m on the land while in fact €150m is more likely - with €200m considered a "best case" scenario.

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It was changed from very restrictive institutional zoning in 2013, which called for controlled development with local amenities and institutional use in mind. But its current status still calls for institutional use, with a bias towards lots of green space.

Restrictions may have altered somewhat due to the interpretation of a series of legal actions taken against the council by religious orders in recent times against such zonings. But, essentially, the earmarked usage is still quite restrictive.

One valuer who is familiar with the site said: "There is an argument to be made that the north-end of it in particular is severely underused, with lots of car parking and open spaces.

"So perhaps the best chance of capitalising on land value is for RTÉ to cut off a 10-acre portion at this end, where the prospects for development are best. They could then cash in for around €50m without having to move."

This would make sense, as the other big problem RTÉ faces is the frightening cost of rehousing itself - and replacing or renting its buildings requirements elsewhere. There is also an issue at the Nutley end, where experts believe nearby two-storey homes cannot be overshadowed.

A serious and well thought-out strategy will be required.

Irish Independent

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