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Build-to-rent row: are we getting our housing mix wrong?

The go-ahead for a complex of 1,600 rental-only apartments near Croke Park has divided opinion. For some, such developments are the answer to the housing crisis, but others believe there are hidden costs. John Meagher investigates

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Objection: Social Democrat Gary Gannon would have preferred more mixed units in the proposed scheme for 1,600 build-to-rent apartments in Drumcondra, Dublin

Objection: Social Democrat Gary Gannon would have preferred more mixed units in the proposed scheme for 1,600 build-to-rent apartments in Drumcondra, Dublin

The proposed Holy Cross scheme for 1,600 build-to-rent apartments in Drumcondra, Dublin

The proposed Holy Cross scheme for 1,600 build-to-rent apartments in Drumcondra, Dublin

Optimistic: Professor Ronan Lyons

Optimistic: Professor Ronan Lyons

The proposed Holy Cross scheme in Drumcondra, Co Dublin

The proposed Holy Cross scheme in Drumcondra, Co Dublin

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Objection: Social Democrat Gary Gannon would have preferred more mixed units in the proposed scheme for 1,600 build-to-rent apartments in Drumcondra, Dublin

On Monday afternoon, the news that Rob Curley had been dreading came to pass. An Bord Pleanála announced that it had approved a huge complex of 1,600 apartments at Clonliffe College near Croke Park.

Curley — an architect and advocate for sustainable urban housing — was not upset by the scale of the development in his area or the fact that it would include an 18-storey building. He is under no illusion about the severity of the housing crisis. But since plans were unveiled, he has been troubled by the fact that every single unit will only be available for rent — and not purchase — and that 70pc of the apartments there will either be studio or one-bedroom.


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