Wednesday 18 September 2019

Private developer behind controversial co-living facility in Dún Laoghaire is preferred bidder for Dublin site

O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin
O’Devaney Gardens in Dublin
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

THE private developer behind a controversial plan to build a co-living facility in Dún Laoghaire is the preferred bidder to develop public lands at O’Devaney Gardens, can reveal.

A report by Dublin City Council deputy chief executive, Brendan Kenny, to be presented to councillors tomorrow stressed the council was not selling the site and is “certainly not ‘giving it away’,” to Bartra Capital.

However the council will have to approve the transfer of land title to Bartra, which will take place in phases, under the plan.  

The developer will be subject to restrictions such that no shared accommodation, no student accommodation and no studio apartments could be built at the site. These resections were highlighted in bold in Mr Kenny’s report.

The cost of the development including 769 homes – 56 are already in construction at the site under a separate deal with Careys Construction for a total of 825 units – has been estimated at €300m.

As part of the Bartra deal, 411 units will be put on the market for private sale, including 119 one-bed, 274 two-bed and 18 three-bed apartments.

There will be 192 social units, including 11 three-bed houses, 64 one-bed apartments, 80 two-bed apartments and 37 three-bed apartments.

The report said 165 homes will “go to the lucky applicants under the Affordable Housing Scheme.”

A discount of 30pc to 40pc will apply on the affordable units, with the price range for a three-bed apartment from €360,000 to €420,000 at the top end with a two-bed house €270,000 to €315,000 at the bottom.

Benefits to the city from the deal listed in the report included a discount on the social and affordable housing units with a cash equivalent of €32m. It said it allowed development of the site without associated risks such as financial and planning.

O’Devaney Gardens was a flat complex developed close to the Phoenix Park in Dublin, in the 1950s.

The site, 3km from O'Connell Street, was earmarked for redevelopment in 2008 but fell victim to the economic crash.

At that stage the work was to be carried out under a public-private partnership involving Dublin City Council and developer Bernard McNamara.

Bartra is also the developer behind a proposed 208-bedroom co-living unit at Eblana Avenue, Dún Laoghaire.

It was criticised by local Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett who called the units “unaffordable, box rooms” and  “Dickensian”.

“Ireland needs new models of housing to cater for changing demographics, living habits and employment patterns. Co-living is one such response to these changes,” Bartra chief executive Mike Flannery said in July.

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