Dublin floating homes plan weighs anchor
Permanently moored houseboats will offer open views of Dublin Bay
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company has stepped up plans to develop 50 "floating homes" as part of an affordable solution to the housing crisis.
The new scheme will see the new homes permanently moored in Dublin Bay.
Last September, the company sought "expressions of interest" from relevant parties as part of the radical housing project.
It is envisaged that each unit will have a floor area of 800-900sq ft - similar to a two-bed apartment - and cost €300,000-€350,000.
The units will be moored at a pontoon on the western end of the port, boasting Dublin Bay views.
The initiative is modelled on similar water-based housing developments in Portland, Maine in the US, and British Columbia in Canada.
Floating boats have been used as homes to a small extent at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin.
However, the plan for Dun Laoghaire is for more traditional homes.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent, company chief executive Gerry Dunne confirmed the company will launch a formal procurement process this month.
"The responses we have received have been overwhelmingly positive. It's a very cost-effective solution, and is something that can be done really quickly," he said.
"We would expect that if we get through the procurement process in the first quarter of 2018, we could have the floating homes project up and running in 2019.
"There's a planning process we have to go through, which means there could be appeals lodged with An Bord Pleanala.
"If we get a fair wind in our sails, the homes could be in place by mid-2019. If the project is delayed during the planning process, it could be later in 2019. A lot depends on the response we get back during the formal tender process.
"Everything depends on the specification, because in some parts of the world where this is happening - particularly in the United States and Canada - some of these homes are veritable mansions, two or three storeys high.
"But if this is kept simple, we would be looking at a retail price of around €300,000- €350,000.
"About two years ago we looked at the notion of a floating hotel. This concept is the same - to utilise the water space for residential purposes, rather than just leaving it for leisure pursuits."