Monday 23 September 2019

Players Square planning delay stalls new homes

An artist’s impression of the proposed Players Square scheme on Dublin’s South Circular Road
An artist’s impression of the proposed Players Square scheme on Dublin’s South Circular Road
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

A plan by Nama to enter into a joint venture agreement with developers for the construction of hundreds of new homes on the site of the former Player Wills cigarette factory on Dublin's South Circular Road is facing the prospect of a significant delay, owing to the ongoing absence of planning permission for the scheme.

While publicly-listed builders Cairn Homes and Glenveagh Properties are reported to be among the parties interested in partnering with the State agency for the delivery of the Players Square development, the planning application required for its delivery has yet to be submitted to Dublin City Council.

This is despite the fact that the Nama-appointed receivers to the site informed the city's planners that an application would be submitted by last January.

The receivers gave that commitment in a submission to the council following the South Circular Road site's inclusion on the Vacant Sites Register.

Asked for comment on the matter, a spokesman for Nama said: "Nama is working with all relevant stakeholders to facilitate a sustainable planning application in due course."

While the current lack of planning permission for the 4.32 hectare (10.67 acre) site is an obstacle that can be overcome, the ongoing failure to address the situation has raised eyebrows amongst a number of developers anxious to secure lands for the development of housing in the capital.

The South Circular Road site comprises the former John Player factory and Bailey Gibson industrial premises, and is widely considered to be one of the few remaining high-quality development sites in the centre of Dublin.

The original, lapsed, planning permission provided for a one million square foot mixed-use scheme comprising 754 apartments, offices, retail space, a school, two crèches, a medical centre, leisure centre and swimming pool on the site.

Nama's efforts now to progress with the delivery of the Players Square project form just one part of its overall plan to bring forward a number of prime residential sites it still controls in Dublin in areas including Baldoyle, Clongriffin, Kinsealy, Tyrellstown, Pelletstown, Brennanstown Road and Blessington Road for development.

Elsewhere in the capital, Savills is expected to bring a 6.75-acre site on the Swords Road in Drumcondra, Dublin 9, to the market on behalf of Nama in the coming weeks. While the site's existing planning permission for 358 apartments has expired, it is expected to carry a guide price in the region of €20m.

Last week, joint agents Knight Frank and Cushman & Wakefield commenced the sales campaign, on behalf of Nama, for the Grange portfolio in Stillorgan in south county Dublin.

The portfolio is guiding an overall price of €135m and comprises 274 of the 507 completed apartments at the development along with a four-acre site with the capacity to accommodate 263 additional apartments.

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