Saturday 19 October 2019

Dublin docklands high-rise target - Hibernia chief

Vision: Kevin Nowlan, CEO of Hibernia Reit, says developers will eye the likes of Poolbeg
Vision: Kevin Nowlan, CEO of Hibernia Reit, says developers will eye the likes of Poolbeg
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Poolbeg and the wider docks area in the capital are the most likely location for any high-rise buildings that might be built in Dublin, according to the CEO of property investment firm Hibernia Reit.

"I think the die is cast in a lot of the areas in which we've already built in," said Kevin Nowlan.

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He added that there may be one or two exceptions at strategic locations in areas primarily close to the city's quays.

"I think the opportunities are going to be in places like Poolbeg," he said. "The city is going to have to start looking at the docks. Places like Newlands as well - they're the areas where you can possibly create heights without them looking like they're completely out of context."

Hibernia Reit owns a large tract of land at Newlands Cross in the south of the city, where the company wants to build mixed-use developments including homes, retail and some office space.

Dublin remains a low-rise city, meaning valuable space at key locations such as the IFSC and docklands has been wasted because of planning laws that restricted high-rise buildings.

Among those publicly pushing for taller buildings to be permitted was a company linked to high-profile developer Johnny Ronan and Colony Capital.

New rules for building heights were introduced by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy during 2018.

Those rules aim to prevent urban sprawl - long a feature of Dublin - and set out new and updated national planning policies on building heights in urban areas.

But projects still have to fit in with existing areas and are subject to planning rules designed to prevent adverse traffic impact and other issues.

Locations such as former industrial estates and docklands have been identified as being appropriate for high-rise buildings.

"You look at Sandyford at the moment [in south Dublin], with an average of 12 to 15 storeys," said Mr Nowlan.

"There's a lot of land in inner city Dublin where there's great potential," he added.

"I think the key challenge for those locations is to make sure we do it well."

Irish Independent

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