Housing Development in The Liberties Lags Behind, But There Are Signs of an Upswing


Business, Life

The recent development phase in The Liberties has been marked by the development of hotels, new-generation student accommodation and commercial developments. Up to recently, residential development has lagged, largely reflecting a pattern across the city.

While The Liberties remains overwhelming a residential neighbourhood, with over 23,000 people living in the area, it is also close to (if not part of) the city centre, and so the types of development in the area should reflect that of a city centre. That includes shops and services, offices and business-places, visitor attractions and accommodation, as well as different types of living spaces such as student housing, apartments and rental.

But naturally, in a time of acute pressure in the housing market, as well as the increasing desire for people to live close to and within the city centre, an area such as The Liberties and wider Dublin 8 should be able to accommodate greater levels of residential development. This is particularly the case given the extent of unused and vacant land in the area, and large swathes of some streets – for example Cork Street – where regeneration is much needed.

There are increasing signs that residential development is starting to appear. So what’s to look out for…?

Cork Street
The redevelopment of Cork Street after the road project was completed in 2003 largely stalled in 2009 as the recession kicked in but has restarted this year with major student housing schemes underway at the former Donnelly Centre and major plans announced for Newmarket, including a 96-apartment development as part of the wider redevelopment of the former IDA centre, and 24 apartments, set for a new mixed use scheme at Blackpitts.

A number of infill schemes are also planned along Cork Street. A small apartment building with 5 apartments is nearing completion close to Marrowbone Lane, while permission was recently granted for 39 apartments and a retail unit on the site of Hanlons, with a more substantial 70 apartments and a new supermarket planned for a large site opposite The Coombe Hospital.

City Council Regeneration Projects
Dublin City Council is renewing two of its large social housing schemes in the area at Dolphin’s Barn and St Teresa’s Gardens. Work at Dolphin’s Barn is well advanced with 100 new senior citizens units expected to be completed later this year. The regeneration of St Teresa’s Gardens has been slower to take place, but with most of the old housing blocks now demolished, work to complete the first phase of 54 new homes is expected to commence early in 2019. The new St Teresa’s Gardens will also include an amenity area and multi-sport playing pitch, shops and community facilities.

The Council is also finalising plans for a number of so-called ‘rapid build’ housing schemes at Cork Street (alongside Weaver Park), Chamber Street, Long Place and Bonham Street (opposite the planned park at Bridgefoot Street).

Player Wills and Bailey Gibson
This substantial development site off the SCR has been tied up in NAMA for many years. The 15-acre site would likely accommodate up to 1,000 homes, as well as commercial development, amenities, and uses linked to the nearby medical cluster at St James’s Hospital. A planning permission for the revived Player’s Square development is expected.

Established streets in the area are not without new residential developments, many replacing derelict buildings or vacant sites. The first phase of the Tramyard Exchange on Carman’s Hall has now been completed, with permission awaited for a second phase onto Meath Street. In total 22 apartments and new retail and office units will be provided here. A 32-apartment development of assisted housing by Focus Ireland is underway at John’s Lane West, while a 7-apartment building at 98-99 Francis Street is now largely completed. Two applications have recently been lodged for developments on Echlin Street – both seeking 11 apartments each.

Down on Bow Lane, development of an 11 apartment scheme at 30-34 Bow Lane West is underway, while permission is in place for 3 apartments at the base of Cromwell Quarters.

On the Quays
Permission is currently sought for development of 28 apartments and a commercial unit at Usher Street, just off the quays.

A major plan for St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore
The former St Michael’s Estate in Inchicore is now proposed for a new neighbourhood of 472 homes, together with a public park, a new library, shops and services. The scheme by Dublin City Council was unveiled last week to some controversy in the local community. The development will consist of 30% social housing units and the remaining 70% built under a proposed cost-rental model, where tenants pay a rent below market value.

Into the future: St James’s Gate Quarter
Plans by Diageo to develop over 12 acres of their former brewery lands into  a new urban quarter could see hundreds of new homes appear in the area. While the plans for SJGQ are long term, and the precise details have yet to be determined (a development partner for the project will be announced early in 2019), the indicative masterplan for the brewery lands suggested as much as 50% of the new development will be residential.

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