Monday 19 August 2019

A-rated apartments launching in the Liberties

This week sees the launch of a new inner-city apartment development, writes Liadan Hynes. It marks a further stage in the ongoing regeneration of the Liberties

Tramyard Exchange
Tramyard Exchange

Liadan Hynes

The theory that the dearth of new apartments is a major contributing factor to the current house crisis is gaining traction. Some market commentators believe it is an even more important factor than the lack of three or four-bed semi-detached homes.

However, apartment building in Irish cities is challenged by several factors. For starters, there remains a prejudice on the part of many buyers against the idea of purchasing an apartment for long-term family living. Apartments are regarded as, at most, a first step on the property ladder and then only if a house is beyond your budget.

Then there are planning issues - the height restrictions in urban centres implemented by city planners mean that when apartment blocks are built, they lack the density required to meet current demand. Factor in cost issues - while a housing development can be built, and sold, in stages, under current regulations, an apartment block cannot be occupied until it is 100pc complete. Furthermore, developers point out that apartments are more expensive to build than houses, therefore the return is not as high. So far, apartment building is really only viable in Dublin.

Some commentators suggest that developers may be holding off on building on what would be viable sites. They believe that growing demand may lead to a change in planning that would allow greater heights than are currently allowed.

Brook House
Brook House

But if the housing crisis is to be solved, apartment living must be a central part of the solution. The inescapable reality is that apartment developments allow for greater density than the traditional housing estate. If built in the centre of a city, they bring life back to core inner areas and help local businesses to thrive.

With populations rising but family sizes falling, apartments are an obvious option. But they have to be of a standard to accommodate long-term living, and must avoid the mistakes of the past in terms of size and quality. There must also be an adequate mix of units within a development to allow for single dwellers, couples and families. Accessible gardens and secure play areas for children should be provided when possible.

Tramyard Exchange at 27 Carman's Hall in Dublin 8, launches next week. In the Liberties, just off Meath Street, Thomas Street and Francis Street, the Tramyard is the first new apartment development in the area in a decade. This phase brings 12 A-rated one- and two-bedroom apartments to the market. In total, there will be 22 units.

What is happening in the Liberties is somewhat similar to the regenerations that have taken place in Stoneybatter and Smithfield. Salamisso developments are behind much of it. They were responsible for the Bull Ring Market, which includes the market, a cafe and office suites. They have several other projects in planning stages in the area, including a hotel.

Lansdowne Place
Lansdowne Place

The intention with this project was to provide long-term living options. "They believe in the city centre," says selling agent John Farrell of Hooke & MacDonald. "They honestly believe when building this kind of project, that there is a strong demand for long-term living in that area."

Pre-launch, the level of enquiries has far exceeded the number of apartments available. When Hooke & MacDonald launched a similar apartment development across the river in Smithfield in early 2016, all units sold out within the launch weekend, several to families with children, who intended living there on a long-term basis.

"These buyers can afford to live in the suburbs," explains Farrell. "But they want a quality of life that will enable them to walk to work, rather than to commute. They are prepared to live in the city centre provided they have the right type of accommodation."

In terms of size, the units compare favourably with many of the two-bedroom terraced houses in the area. Units are priced from €310,000 for one-bedroom apartments of 53sqm and from €395,000 for two-bedroom apartments of 89sqm. Storage is ample - storage space of approximately 7sqm is provided - and all apartments come with south-facing balconies that average 7sqm in size, some with views across the city. A green area has been provided by way of the private roof garden terrace.

Brook House
Brook House

Viewing Tuesday, November 21, 1-2pm or by appointment. Agent Hooke & MacDonald (01) 631 8402

Also on view...

At the high-end of the apartment market the trend is to sell a lifestyle, rather than just a dwelling.

Concierge services, on-site cinema rooms, gyms, personal trainers, all to be enjoyed by buyers typically in their forties, often either retired or working between Dublin and another city, are becoming expected features of such developments. The security and low maintenance of an apartment for these buyers, who may be older, or often abroad, are key.

Situated on the corner of Lansdowne Road and Shelbourne Road, Lansdowne Place in Ballsbridge, which launched last summer, already with almost 30 sales under its belt, is a perfect example of such a development. Its 215 units, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom penthouses, will be spread over seven pavilion-style buildings.

Features include sun rooms, ie, areas that can be fully opened to the outdoors, and custom-designed kitchens. All residents automatically become members of The Lansdowne Residents Club, which offers a leisure facility and 24-hour concierge service. Other amenities include a lounge, library, meeting room, cinema room, gym, sauna and treatment rooms.

Viewing: By appointment

Joint agents: Savills (01) 618 1335; Sherry FitzGerald New Homes (01) 667 1888

Also appealing to this buyer is Brook House, a small exclusive apartment complex in the heart of Dun Laoghaire, currently reaching full completion, Formerly a five-storey apartment block, it is now a 22 unit complex of one-, two- and three-bedroom units, including a newly-added rooftop penthouse. To date 10 units have already been reserved by buyers from the inquiries list.

There are currently four showhouse apartments on view, all of which are also on sale. Two of these were fitted out for TV3's Showhouse Showdown, which airs later this month. One-bedroom apartments, from €312,500, range in size from 52-63sqm, with two-bedroom units, from €485,000, extend from 87-105sqm. There is one three-bedroom apartment, 138sqm with two en-suite bedrooms, priced at €595,000.

Viewing: By appointment

Agent: Kelly Walsh (01) 664 5500

Sunday Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Life