The pace of redevelopment in the Blackpitts and around Newmarket is phenomenal, with the area being transformed by an unprecedented programme of public and private sector investment.
The historic marketplace of Newmarket had been largely overlooked in recent decades, slowly declining as a light industrial hub and falling victim to decay and even dereliction. The advent of food markets such as Dublin Food Coop and later the Green Door Market, as well as the hugely successful Dublin Fleas gave the space new purpose. In June 2015, the first major development on the square in 15 years saw the construction and opening of Teeling Distillery, now a major visitor attraction for the area, drawing over 185,000 tourists since its opening. The Teeling brand has also been seen far afield, part of the ongoing resurgence and interest in Irish whiskey, and the attraction of the Teeling brand has firmly put Newmarket on the map. A second distillery ‘The Dublin Liberties’, by firm Quintessential Brands, is set to open next year on Mill Street. Allied with other operations in the area on James Street, whiskey distilling is certainly coming home to Dublin 8.
Now Newmarket is set for a new chapter in its story. Among the developments underway or proposed are:
Uninest New Mill – a new student housing and commercial development on Mill Street incorporating 400 student rooms in a managed modern complex with adjoining office and retail. The development also included the restoration of No 10 Mill Street, and historic house originally associated with the Brabazon family and later used as a school and mission. The new offices in 10 Mill Street are set to be occupied by Teeling Whiskey as its new HQ. Uninest New Mill is set to open in September 2017.
Aloft Hotel – the Aloft brand comes to Dublin with a new 200-bed hotel venture currently under construction at Blackpitts. The new hotel is one of three under development in what is one of Dublin’s most visited area, home to many of its major attractions, but up until now an area largely devoid of hotels.
Uninest Blackpitts – a further phase of student housing is under construction at Blackpitts. Set for completion in summer 2018, the new complex will have 300 rooms and associated facilities.
Newmarket Square public realm – Dublin City Council has approved plans for a remodelling of Newmarket and adjoining streets including creating a largely pedestrianised events and market space at the centre of Newmarket. The scheme will also include a cultural space, repurposing a disused weigh station on the east side as a cafe and reopening the link to the former St Luke’s Church, as well as improvements to the main approaches to Newmarket, including Brabazon Street, Newmarket Street (where a new steps is envisaged) and Mill Street. The scheme has received its Part 8 consent and will now proceed to detailed design and construction. The project is estimated to cost €4m.
Weaver Park – the first purpose built neighbourhood park in The Liberties in over 100 years, Weaver Park is currently approaching completion at Cork Street. The new park includes play areas, passive space, planting and incorporates skateboard-friendly features in its design.
Former St Luke’s Church – the old Church of Ireland building had long been in disuse and was reduced to a shell. A new scheme, set for completion later this year, will reimagine the historic building, retaining and conserving the old fabric, re-roofing the space, and setting a stunning new contemporary office space within the old building. Complementing the redevelopment of the church, two new gardens will be created from the old churchyard: a public pocket park facing onto St Luke’s Avenue and a more secluded graveyard garden to the rear of the church, conserving old gravestones and markers and including the reopening of the link to Newmarket. The St Luke’s project is in line with a 2005 Conservation Plan adopted for the building by Dublin City Council, that was put on hold due to the economic downturn.
Most recently, planning permissions have just been submitted for a number of new buildings on Newmarket, dramatically reinventing the space. A consortium called Newmarket Partnership is proposing a series of new buildings and uses including an hotel, residential, office, retail space, a new indoor market hall, and a micro brewery as part of a €200m redevelopment, creating over 400,000 sqm of floorspace.
The scheme will see the demolition of the former IDA Enterprise Centre on St Luke’s Avenue, and most of the remaining light industrial units on Newmarket, most of which date from the 1980s. The three elements of the scheme are:
Former IDA Centre: demolition of all buildings on the site and construction of a new 8,000 sqm hotel, 92 apartments, 7,300 sqm of office space and 112 basement car parking spaces as well as cycle parking and landscaping.
Existing Dublin Food Coop building extending into Mill Street: demolition of buildings on the site and construction of 2-6 storey building including a micro brewery with bar and cafe/restaurant and 2,900 sqm of office space.
Existing Green Door Market building extending to Mill Lane and Mill Street: demolition of the existing building and construction of a new 4 – 6 storey building incorporating an indoor market hall with c. 10,000 sqm of office space above and 17 parking spaces in the basement.
Also in planning for this location is a 349-bedroom student housing scheme on Newmarket and Brabazon Street by Summix FRC Developments known as The Brewery Block, while at Blackpitts, Zipony Limited are currently seeking permission for modifications to a previously approved redevelopment of 26-29 New Row South. The approved scheme involves changing an existing stone warehouse to offices and construction of a new adjoining building with 24 apartments. It includes 24 car parking spaces. Demolition of the old factory on the site is ongoing.
Undoubtedly Newmarket is the place to be! The impressive scale of what is happening makes it one of the biggest concentrations of development in Dublin 8 and reflects the growing interest in the wider Liberties as a location for living, working and leisure.