The coming year is set to be one of exciting physical change for The Liberties. With almost €2bn of public and private sector investment underway in the area, and a number of successfully-completed projects to crown the past year, 2019 will see the pace of redevelopment in the area increase, as well as some key public realm interventions commence. Among the projects to look out for:
Francis Street refurbishment
Dublin City Council will commence a long-awaited public realm enhancement of Francis Street. Detailed design work for the scheme will take place from January to March, with work on site from early summer. The street will be fully repaved with wider pavements and reorganised street parking, new landscaping, lighting and street furniture added, and improvements to parking layouts and services. The project is expected to be completed in spring 2020.
Meanwhile, work is mooted to start in Spring on the redevelopment of the Tivoli Theatre and adjoining carpark. A new Staycity-operated aparthotel is planned with 260 no. rooms, a cultural and performance space and courtyard, and new retail units along Francis Street. At the south end of the street, at The Coombe, the new Hyatt Centric Hotel will open its doors in May bringing 257 new hotel rooms to the area. The Council’s plans to reacquire the Iveagh Market are also likely to loom large in 2019.
Work on the Francis Street revamp is expected to start in summer
A new look for Meath Street
Dublin City Council has begun a project to redesign Meath Street to revive the area’s famous market street. Initial public information meetings with businesses and the community were held last October, and the ambition is to develop a draft design by Spring and progress to a Part 8 planning application later in the year.
The project is 2-3 years away and will be subject to funding and resources, however there are already positive signs for Meath Street including building refurbishments and a welcome push from local businesses to enhance and revive the street.
In Diageo World
The Guinness Storehouse will embark on an expansion of its iconic Gravity Bar in 2019, doubling floorspace in the 360^ rooftop bar, and adding a new Archive building on Grand Canal Place. Since it opened its doors in 2000, the Storehouse has grown to be one of the country’s biggest tourist draws and in 2019 it expects to welcome its 20 millionth visitor!
Diageo will also unveil the new Roe & Co Whiskey Distillery in early summer, developed in the former power station building on James Street. The new distillery and visitor centre will be the fourth such facility to open in The Liberties as part of current resurgence in Irish whiskey distilling in the city. The project also sees the return of a famous name to the area, just a short distance from the location of the original George Roe & Sons Distillery on Thomas Street.
Three new whiskey stills arriving at Roe & Co Distillery earlier this year
More details of the planned regeneration of St James’s Gate Quarter will come in 2019 when a development partner is announced and work starts on detailed design. The 12.6 acre site is expected to transform over the next 10 years with new residential, commercial and leisure uses and new streets and spaces, in one of the most ambitious regeneration projects to be seen n Dublin.
Greening The Liberties
A new community park at Bridgefoot Street will be another high-profile City Council project in The Liberties in 2019. The new park will include a community garden and allotments, play areas, landscaping and a small workshop. The park is expected to go to tender later in 2019. An adjoining site will be developed as social housing under the Council’s so–called ‘rapid build’ programme.
Dublin City Council is also undertaking landscaping works at Marrowbone Lane; conservation and landscape works that will see the eventual reopening to the public of the historic St James’s Graveyard; and further investment in St Catherine’s Park off Thomas Street. A planned project to revamp of the linear park between Fatima and Suir Road will also be advanced during 2019.
Business Centres Scaling Up
The GEC is expected to announce major expansion plans this spring as it seeks to increase its floorspace at Taylor’s Lane to allow it to double the number of businesses it can currently accommodate. The centre, which opened in 2000, was last year voted Best Business Incubator for the second time,
The Digital Hub too has ambitious expansion plans. 2019 is expected to be dominated by the development of its Windmill site masterplan – covering almost 3 acres of land on the north side of Thomas Street and extending down to Bonham Street.
A new co-work space at Thomas Street is also expected to open in 2019, while social enterprise in the area will get a boost via a new community and social enterprise hub at Bridgefoot Street.
The GEC set to double its floorspace at Taylor’s Lane
The pace of redevelopment of sites in the area, many of which have lain derelict or unused for many years, will quicken significantly in the coming year. Property developments that are set for completion or commencement in 2019 include:
No 61 Thomas Street is a new office and restaurant development by Oakmount being constructed close to Vicar Street Venue. The building, designed by architects Laurence & Long, incorporates historic fabric from the former 18thC buildings on the site, and will be completed in Summer. Subject to planning, a new 187 bedroom hotel is proposed by Harry Crosbie to the rear of Vicar Street Venue, with construction suggested to start later in 2019.
At nearby John Street, work is expected to start in March on a new office scheme to the rear of 88 Thomas Street. An apartment scheme for Focus Ireland at John’s Lane West will complete early next year, comprising 37 no. assisted living units. Meanwhile a planning application has been submitted for a 71-bed aparthotel on the prominent vacant site at Mullinahack and St Augustine Street.
Planned office development at John’s Street
There are a number of active development sites on Cork Street such as the former Donnelly Centre (now developing as student housing) and planned residential developments close to The Coombe Hospital. In fact, over 1,000 new student housing units are set for completion in the area by September 2019 , with developments at Cork Street and Carman’s Hall.
Planning permission was granted last year for a major redevelopment of Newmarket including planned residential, office, hotel, retail and leisure uses. The €200m scheme is set across three large sites. Demolition work has now commenced for a planned office and market hall building at Mill Lane, which is expected to be the first site to be developed.
Cork Street set for new developments including apartments, student housing, a hotel and offices. Dublin City Council is also expected to develop a greening and public realm plan for the street
Finally, on James’s Street, a planned aparthotel is permitted for a derelict site at Mount Brown and Cromwell Quarters. The scheme is one of a number of new development close to St James Hospital, which continues to transform with the development of the National Children’s Hospital and new research centres and clinics. The old Grand Canal Harbour is also the focus of activity, with a revised planning application by site owners Marlett expected in the new year. The continued growth of the hospital is expected to see this area develop significantly in coming years including new amenities, school premises and housing.