Thousands of new homes in scheme - but none for sale
The first 1,269 units at Cherrywood will be available by 2020 - but none of these will be available for purchase by families, first-time buyers or downtraders.
It took seven months to get the planning permission at Cherrywood and will take another three years before all the apartments are ready to let out.
The finished units will be held, rented and managed in the long term by Hines and APG under the increasingly popular 'build-to-rent' model.
At the commencement of the new apartments at the Cherrywood scheme in south Dublin yesterday, American and Dutch-based firms announced their intention to invest in another 1,731 units across the city with a combined value of €1.1bn.
US-based property investment firm Hines, in conjunction with the Dutch fund APG Asset Management, announced the commencement of its residential output at the Cherrywood Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), which will see the first 1,269 units finished in phases between 2020 and 2023.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy attended the ceremony, where it was revealed that the development will include 130 social housing units, just over 10pc of the scheme overall.
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council gave the go-ahead last May for the 2.1 million sq-ft development, which will also include 585,000 sq-ft of retail and office space, as well as high-amenity leisure space.
The minister said: "The commencement of construction at Cherrywood SDZ is to be warmly welcomed as a very significant development.
"Cherrywood's strategic development zone status allows for major projects of scale to be delivered within accelerated timeframes and, as of today, it is officially the largest urban development in the State and in time will see approximately 8,000 new homes becoming available in the area."
The announcement that the partnership is planning to invest in 1,731 more units across the city is good news for housing provision overall but bad news for those hoping to buy homes in the area.
It demonstrates the new type of schemes pushing ahead in the current climate and backed by foreign investment, and the continued expansion of 'super landlords' amidst Ireland's worsening housing crisis.
The drive towards 'build to rent' is being eased in by Government which has been steadily throwing off existing restrictions on the construction of multi-unit blocks in bigger sizes and in greater densities.
Last week, Mr Murphy issued new guidelines to local authorities which re-evaluate height restrictions on apartment blocks.
The new outlines guided by the National Planning Framework seek to concentrate city populations in order to avoid sprawl.
Mr Murphy said arbitrary height caps on apartment buildings in cities "don't make any sense".
The Cherrywood blocks will generally range between four to seven storeys.
To maximise light and views, many will feature an "end-to-end" bedroom layout with sleeping spaces either side of the living and kitchen areas.