A Grand Harbour

Marlet's new Grand Canal Harbour development includes 550 apartments as well as retail, cafés, workspaces and a creche


Business, Life

Marlet’s new Grand Canal Harbour development is largely completed, and now that most of the public areas are accessible, you can take a look inside.

The complex includes 550 apartments, mainly private rental, with around 111 social housing units to be managed by Túath. It’s a huge scheme, that also includes new retail (a Tesco Express on the way), cafe/restaurants, a créche, medical centre and workspaces.

The scheme occupies the site of the old Harbour that terminated the Grand Canal until it was decommissioned in the early 1970s. The new scheme now terminates the vista along Market Street South and there are plans in place for largescale redevelopment of the historic St James Gate Brewery lands (to be known as Guinness Quarter) that will further densify and change this area and bring new housing and leisure uses to what has been largely industrial land.

Alongside the taller modern apartment buildings there are some nods to the previous use of the site. A water pool is intended to reflect the former Harbour, although it will be underwhelming, more reflective puddle than reflective pool.

More substantial is the retention and refurbishment of the historic Grand Canal Harbour Co. warehouse. This impressive crescent shaped building was constructed in 1785 as part of the development of the harbour, which at that time terminated the Grand Canal. It wasn’t until later that the ‘City Spur’ of the Canal was constructed, skirting the south the city and connecting to the River Liffey at Grand Canal Basin.

Work on this Harbour Warehouse is still ongoing. The building is expected to accommodate a mix of office spaces, a medical centre and cafe/restaurant. Many of the fine features of this building have been retained and restored, while a contemporary annexe has been added to the west of it.

Despite the high number of apartments, greenery and amenity spaces are hard to find. There are some rooftop level spaces that can be used by residents. But at street level, the complex is bare and not terribly inviting. More substantial tree planting should have been required. The arrival of new commercial tenants will also help to enliven the area.

The website for the private Build to Rent element of the scheme is https://grandcanalharbour.ie

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