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Aoibhin Bryant

Credit: 3D Design Bureau

Terenure Apartment Scheme gets go-ahead from An Bord Pleanála

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

An Bord Pleanála has approved plans to fast-track the development of a €106 million apartment scheme in Terenure, Co Dublin.

Construction is set to take place at the “Carlisle” site on Kimmage Road West, located to the north and east of Ben Dunne Gym, south of Captain’s Road, west of Brookfield Green and east of Park Crescent.

The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) by Lioncor Developments will consist of the construction of five blocks, ranging in heights of up to six storeys at their highest.

The blocks will provide 208 residential units, divided equally between one-beds and two-beds.

Every unit will have private balconies and terraces to the north, south, east and west elevations.

Current plans of the 208 apartments have 21 residential units allocated for social housing.

In the board inspector Paul O’Brien’s report for the case, he found that, subject to compliance, “the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density at this location, would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would be acceptable in terms of urban design, height and quantum of development”.

The report stated that despite the scheme’s high density, it would “provide for good residential amenity for future occupants whilst ensuring that existing residential amenity can be protected”.

Over 75 objections have been lodged against the scheme, including from residential groups – the Kimmage Dublin Residents’ Alliance, the Kimmage Road Residents’ Association and Terenure West Residents’ Association – and Sinn Fein TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

In his objection letter submitted last May, Mr Ó Snodaigh insisted that residents’ objections to the SHD were not ‘nimbyism’.

“Not one of the residents who contacted me in relation to this development argued against housing per se.”

He continued: “Nobody could say that the imposition of five blocks of six-storey apartments backing onto and overlooking the gardens of Dublin Corporation-built 1930s/40s two-storey homes is suitable, as is being proposed with the Carlisle development.”

He also objected to the price guide of the development, with Part V documentation lodged putting an indicative price of €668,155.

Green light for €500 million Foynes to Limerick road and Adare bypass

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

An Bord Pleanála has approved plans for the multi-million euro road linking Foynes to Limerick as well as the Adare bypass.

The €500 million project will connect the port of Foynes to the motorway network.

It will also provide an upgrade to the motorway from Attyfin to Rathkeale.

Expected to measure 35 kilometres, the road will cross through the townlands of Shangolden, Craggs, Askeaton West, Lismakeery, Nantian, Riddlestown, Rathkeale Rural, Rathkeale Urban, Dromard, Croagh, Adare North, Adare South, Clarina and Patrickswell.

An Bord Pleanála also approved plans for the construction of five large bridges, including the much-anticipated Adare bypass – which will see a 200-metre bridge crossing the River Maigue.

This bypass is expected to have a significant impact on reducing congestion in the area.

The road will consist of approximately 15.6km dual carriageway from Foynes to Rathkeale with 1.9km of a single carriageway link road between Ballyclogh and Askeaton. Credit: Google Street View

The road will consist of approximately 15.6km dual carriageway from Foynes to Rathkeale
with 1.9km of a single carriageway link road between Ballyclogh and Askeaton.

Another 17.5km will take up the motorway from Rathkeale to the existing motorway network at Attyflin, which includes the N2, N20 and M20 junctions.

Junctions will be in place for the towns of Foynes, Ballyclogh, Askeaton, Rathkeale, Croagh and Adare.

A service area for heavy goods vehicles is also planned for Foynes.

Limerick City and County Council first applied to An Bord Pleanála for planning permissions in December 2019.

The project’s website states that both the roads and bypass “promote efficient and effective transport links in the Munster region”.

“The project will improve the urban environment of the heritage town of Adare and will increase road capacity, reducing journey times and improving safety for road users.”

Although a decision was expected last year, it was hit with several deferrals.

An Bord Pleanála approved the development subject to five conditions.

In the interim before construction begins, members of the public are invited to inspect the decision.

Building Information Index 2022 Q1-Q2

By | Building Information Ireland, Industry News

High inflation rates among other problems have hit the construction sector following the end of the COVID-19 slump, Building Information’s new index has found.

In the newly-published Building Information Index Q1-Q2 for 2022, significant pressures have been seen in the rising costs seen in the first six months of this year. 

With the Society of Chartered Surveyors finding that construction price inflation is now running at 14%, Building Information Ireland CEO Danny O’Shea said this provided a backdrop to their half-year report of the industry. 

“Covid restrictions appear to be well and truly behind us now, but challenges remain in terms of inflation, supply chain and labour skills,” he said. 

Mr O’Shea pointed to data and recent reports from BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland 

Construction PMI in June and July suggest huge difficulties for the sector in the summer months.

However, the same report also sees inflation easing in the coming months. 

“This should hopefully release some pressure on both suppliers and contractors in the  construction sector as we progress through the latter half of 2022.”

Commencement of projects has increased by just 65%, which is relatively static once inflation is stripped from the picture. 

However, after two years of the sector largely coming to a stand still during rolling lockdowns, the industry has perked up with a substantial 50% national increase in application activity compared to the first half of 2021

This is an increase from €13.6bn to €20.5bn year on year.

All regions of the island showed growth with Dublin seeing the largest at a 79% increase. 

Connacht and Ulster remain largely unchanged with a marginal increase of just 1% – which is actually a decrease in projects once inflation is taken out of costs. 

Although the rest of the country saw a decrease in granted permissions, they were up year-on-year nationally by 3% in thanks to Munster.

 

Residential

Despite a slight decrease in unit putput, the outlook for residential properties has remained positive with planning applications up 68% in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021. 

This increase is substantially driven by Strategic Housing Developments (SHD) and the new  new Large Residential Developments – all of which have units of 100 or more. 

Dublin and Cork have seen the majority of new applications, showing gains of 94% and 95% in the Dublin and Munster regions respectively. 

While granted applications increased by 5% nationally for the year, Munster has seen a significant rise in comparison to the rest of the country.

Commencements are up a marginal 2% in the same period. 

Building Info’s analysis sees a possible 15% increase in activity in the short term with delays in planning and limitations of delivery hindering estimates.

 

Education 

Turning to the education sector, the outlook remains overwhelmingly positive with high levels of activity expected to continue into 2023. 

Commencements rose by 170% nationally when compared to 2021 – a further increase from 2020.

Planning applications were down nationally by 30% but granted applications rose by 43%. All regions have felt this increase with the exception of Dublin which is down 17%. 

 

Agriculture

When looking at agriculture, all metrics have seen significant decreases with planning applications down 56%.

Granted applications also fell by 43% for the year with all regions feeling this steep decline.

On the commencement front, the six months of 2022 saw a 17% national decline. 

Inflation of steel prices has seemed to contribute to this downturn. 

One consolation that can be taken for the sector is that turn around times have improved.

 

Industrial 

The industrial sector is continuing into 2022 with strong growth with planning applications up 15%.

Dublin benefited the most with a recorded 72% increase.

Although granted applications are down 19% nationally, commencements are up a significant 76%.

Strong activity is seen in Cork with Munster overall enjoying huge gains of 185%. 

Turnaround times are just three weeks longer than the industry average at 66 weeks. 

 

Commercial & Retail 

After taking a significant hit in the last two years, the commerical and retail sector has appeared to turn a corner in the first half of 2022. 

Planning applications are up 27% compared to the same period in 2021.  While this growth was felt in Dublin and Munster, Leinster and Connacht Ulster continued to show decreases of 10% and 38% respectively. 

Granted applications also increased in line with inflation. 

While national commencement activity is down, a growth of 20% in Dublin is hoped to be reflected in the rest of the country in the near future. 

In other sectors, medical construction looks neutral in the short term with current activity slowing slightly in 2022. 

Meanwhile, activity and demand are both down significantly in the social sector when comparing the first halves of 2022 and 2021. 

Information in the Building Information Index is gathered by measuring the actual (estimated) monetary build value of every construction project per sector. The data is taken by BuildingInfo from real time planning and project information. 

Projects with a value of less than €200,000 were not included from this index, with the exception of the agriculture sector.

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Credit: Digital Dimensions

Former City Arts Centre site could see the development of Ireland’s tallest building

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

Plans have been lodged with Dublin City Council which could see the development of Ireland’s tallest building.

Put forward by John Spain Associates on behalf of Ventaway Limited, the current application seeks ten-year planning permission to construct a building of up to 24 storeys (108.4 metres) in height over a double basement.

The application also seeks the destruction of all existing buildings on the site at the corner of City Quay and Moss Street – where the former City Arts Centre was previously located.

Keeping in touch with its roots, the plan sees an arts centre featured in the building, as well as offices, a gym and other ancillary uses.

The arts centre will be located at the basement, the ground and the first floor.

Meanwhile, the gym is projected to have an entry at ground level from Moss Street.

Dublin Tallest Building City Arts Centre

Plans have been lodged with Dublin City Council which could see the development of Ireland’s tallest building. Credit: Digital Dimensions

Offices will occupy from the ground to the 23rd floor (or 24th storey) with terraces to all elevations.

The double basement will provide parking spaces for 424 bicycles and 11 cars.

The overall gross floor area of the development sums up to 35,910 sq.m. including 1,404 sq.m. arts centre, 22,587 sq.m. office space and 244 sq.m. gym.

An Environmental Impact Assessment Report and Natura Impact Statement have been prepared for the proposed development and have been submitted with the planning application.

The neon sign associated with the City Arts Centre is set to be kept and will be used at the entrance of the new development.

Current proposals see the development coming at just 10m higher than another building at planning stage — a 30-storey apartment building on Parkgate Street.

The City Arts Centre vacated the spot in 2003 and the site has had little activity since this departure.

Dublin Tallest Building City Arts Centre

Keeping in touch with its roots, the plan sees an arts centre featured in the building, as well as offices, a gym and other ancillary uses. Credit: Digital Dimensions

The organisation was set up in 1973 in response to a growing need for an art and culture centre for working-class teenagers living in the inner-city during a time of economic turmoil.

Although occupying a number of spaces during its lifespan, its Moss Street location was its most prolific.

Moving into the warehouse in 1988, the band U2 contributed to the centre and provided fully equipped rehearsal spaces for starting-up bands in the basement.

At the time, it was the largest centre of its kind in Ireland.

It was liquidated in 2012.

Dublin City Council gives go-ahead to two new Amazon data centres

By | Industry News

Amazon has been given the green light to construct two new data centres in north Dublin.

Last month, Dublin City Council approved an application by the tech giant to construct the two centres on a site in Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park.

To make way for construction, the former Ricoh building on the site will be demolished.

The new data centres will be held in new two-storey buildings, the first with a gross floor area of f12,875m² and the second with 1,445m².

Both centres will accommodate data halls, associated electrical and mechanical plant rooms, a loading bay, maintenance and storage space, office administration areas, with plant and solar panels at roof level.

The larger centre will also have two additional mezzanine levels.

A dozen emergency generators will be placed in adjoining compounds of each of the two data centres.

Amazon Web Services, a division of the corporation, already has a data centre on the same site.

The multinational has forecast that between 15 and 58 staff will be employed once construction is completed. Another 400 jobs are also estimated for the construction process.

Three objections have been made as concerns over energy capacity issues and the data centre’s contribution to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have been raised.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that data centres consumed 14% of Ireland’s electricity last year.

Angela Deegan and Eoin O Leidhin, on behalf of the environmental organisations Not Here Not Anywhere and Gluaiseacht respectively, were among the list of objectors.

In her objection letter, Ms Deegan wrote that although there are solar panels included, the planning application also features diesel emergency generators which will result in fossil fuels sometimes being used to power the centre.

“If the plant cannot be powered fully by renewable energy, it will lead to an increase in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030, contravening the Climate Act, Climate Action Plan and National Planning Framework,” she said in her letter.

Consultants for Amazon promised that the company was committed to building a sustainable business in its application.

They said that the company’s recently-operational wind farm in Galway would support the powering of its data centres in the country.

The multinational also referenced its net zero carbon emission by 2040 commitment, which sees the business to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025.

South Dublin County Council recently voted to ban the development of any further data centres being built in its function area during the lifetime of its 2022 to 2028 development plan.

In response to this move, a High Court case has been brought forward by Echelon DC Holdings Limited.

The Government has also called on SDCC to reverse this prohibition.

Center Parcs presents €85 million extension to popular Longford resort

By | Industry News

Center Parcs has put forward its plans for an €85 million extension to its lush Longford forest resort.

The holiday company had previously announced its intentions to expand last year and has now submitted its plan to Longford County Council.

The extension will see the building of 198 new additional accommodation lodges – including four luxury tree houses and external sauna/pods associated with specific lodges.

A lakeside restaurant and coffee shop are also included in current plans and an extension to both the existing Aqua Sauna spa facility and Sub-Tropical Swimming Paradise.

New treatment rooms and a treetop sauna are envisioned for the spa while the swimming paradise is set to enjoy a brand new pool.

Permission for the installation of a solar panel on the roof of the Sports Hall and the Sports Café building has been sought – where an extension to both the hall and the café has been proposed.

Numerous Village Cente restaurants including Huck’s restaurant, Cara’s restaurant, Sports Café restaurant and Bella Italia are also seeking extensions.

The provision of new cycling parking and 313 new car parking spaces for staff are included in current plans.

A new District Heating system with an Energy Centre is in current plans as well as a staff welfare and storage building and two new remote housekeeping stores.

Announcing its resolve last year, it was previously estimated that 300 new jobs would be created throughout the construction process of the extension – should it get the green light.

Planning was lodged in August of this year, just three years after the popular resort first opened its doors in 2019.

And despite a pandemic and restrictions impeding for a large part of its operation, the UK-based company confirmed that it has welcomed over 1.1 million swimmers to its popular Sub-Tropical Swimming Paradise and sold 72,451 pints of Guinness.

A decision date from Longford County Council has yet to be established.

Dublin City Council gives go-ahead for 11-storey hotel on Abbey Street

By | Industry News

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street.

The plan was submitted to the Council by Tom Phillips & Associates on behalf of Abbey Street DevCo Ltd.

The plan’s approval comes after An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for a build-to-rent apartment scheme on the same site in December 2021.

Set to cost an estimated €74 million, it will have 252 bedrooms.

As well as the hotel, a 222-bed 10-storey aparthotel block will also be erected, which will front on Great Strand Street.

A reception area, a restaurant and bar, a lounge and a gym are included in current plans.

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street. Credit: Michael Collins Associates

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street. Credit: Michael Collins Associates

Two retail units are also envisioned for the ground floor, with an off licence area in the larger retail unit.

Giving the green light to the scheme, the city council also ordered the company to pay a planning contribution fee of €941,632.00 to the Planning Authority in respect of the LUAS C1 Line Scheme.

This amount is payable on commencement of construction.

Approving the hotel, the planner’s report stated that the development “would assist in the regeneration of a vacant site, and would provide for active uses onto Great Strand Street and Byrne’s Lane and create new connections between Great Strand Lane and Byrne’s Lane and potentially Abbey Cottages”.

The report continued: “… The proposed development would be in keeping with development plan provisions, and with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The hotel received one objection from a Frank McDonald, who wrote in his six-page objection to the project that it “is just another glaring example of the incessant grinding of a mill bent on turning Dublin into an Anywhere City”.

MetroLink

Planning application for MetroLink to be brought forward to An Bord Pleanala in September

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

The Government has confirmed that a planning application for the long-awaited MetroLink will be lodged with An Bord Pleanala in the coming months.

Last week, Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan secured agreement from the Cabinet to proceed with the MetroLink rail project.

The sponsoring agency for the project, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), is now set to put forward a Railway Order planning application to An Bord Pleanala in September.

The project could commence construction as early as late 2025 with hopes that it would be operational in the early 2030s.

The fully automated underground rail system will be the first of its kind in the country, with Ireland currently being one of the only European countries without a metro.

At 19.4 kilometres in length, the proposed route will span from north county Swords to Charlemont, south of the City Centre.

Metrolink September

Artist’s impression of the station serving St. Stephen’s Green. Credit: Courtesy of gov.ie

Stations are planned for Dublin Airport, the City Centre as well as serving residential communities in Swords, Ballymun and Glasnevin.

Stations will have connections to Irish Rail, DART lines, Luas services as well as bus and BusConnects services.

Current forecasts indicate that trains will run every three minutes at peak times with the system able to carry up to 20,000 passengers per hour.

By 2060, this could rise to trains every 90 seconds.

A final project cost has yet to be devised as the project must still go through planning and procurement stages.

However, current predictions see a cost of €9.5 billion – the midpoint scenario of a €7.16 billion and €12.25 billion cost range.

The Exchequer will front three-quarters of the cost and one quarter will be paid by the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Speaking on the decision, Minister Ryan hailed the MetroLink as a “ once in a generation project” that will “massively transform” public transport in Ireland’s capital.

“This project in various guises has been on the table now for 2 decades, but the government’s decision on the MetroLink Preliminary Business Case marks a significant milestone. Now this exciting transport megaproject starts to become a reality,’ he said.

Metrolink September

Artist’s impression of MetroLink station serving Collins Avenue. Pic: Courtesy of gov.ie

“We are giving the green light to a transport system that will be integral to the city and the country’s sustainable development in this century, and into the next.”

He iterated that the project is “hardwired” to Ireland’s current climate ambitions with the system set to provide over 1 billion carbon neutral passenger trips by 2050.

“It will contribute to a shift from the private car to more sustainable travel, helping to decarbonise the transport sector in line with government policy,” Minister Ryan continued.

“I’m delighted that the government has agreed with my recommendation to proceed with the project, and I look forward to it entering the statutory planning stage this September.”

Anne Graham, Chief Executive of the National Transport Authoirty (NTA), said that the MetroLink will “encourage more people to get out of their cars and on to public transport.”

In the opposition camp, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Trade Darren O’Rourke welcomed the project’s announcement but called on Minister Ryan to explain the project’s “ballooning cost”.

Metrolink September

Artist’s impression of MetroLink station serving Tara Street. Credit: Courtesy of gov.ie

“We need assurances that this project will now be finally delivered on budget and on time, and ahead of schedule if possible,” he said.

“I am concerned about the massive cost escalation for this project already. The original National Development Plan 2018-2027 estimated this would cost €3 billion.

“Today the government are saying it could cost up to €12.25 billion; over quadruple that previous estimate. Construction inflation is pushing up the cost of projects across the board, but not at a rate of over 300%.”

New £25 million hotel in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter gets green light from council

By | Upcoming Construction Projects

Belfast City Council has approved the development of a £25 million hotel in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.

The 164-bed hotel is set to be erected from the former Nambarrie Tea Factory building on the corner of Waring Street and Victoria Street.

The plan will see a three-storey extension to the old factory, which will include a rooftop “sky” bar.

A ground-floor restaurant, a fitness room and meeting rooms are also included in the current plans.

The hotel is backed by Essex-based investment company Propiteer.

The £25 million investment will be a Moxy hotel, a sub-group of the Merriot Hotel brand.

Propiteer’s website states that the Moxy will bring “Marriott International’s contemporary brand to the historic Cathedral Quarter of Northern Ireland’s capital city”.

“Following the acquisition of the old Nambarrie tea factory in Belfast, a prominent building in the city centre, Propiteer have worked closely with city councillors and the planning department to sympathetically retain structural elements of the existing building, whilst designing a unique seven storey hotel reflective of its cultural surroundings.”

It also promises that the ground floor will be designed to accommodate live music.

The Belfast City Council’s Planning Committee approved the proposal unanimously at their meeting on June 14.

In the council’s Professional Planning Report, it was found that the “three-storey extension was considered acceptable following key design changes to minimise its impact on the character and appearance of the host building, setting of adjacent listed buildings and the conservation area”.

Their backing comes despite objections from the owners of the nearby Merchant hotel on Skipper Street.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, owners Beannchor put forward concerns to the council over the lack of notice of the new development as well as overshadowing.

A council Planning Officer raised their objections at the meeting on June 14, stating their concerns that an extension would “give rise to noise, odour, overlooking and overshadowing impacts on the amenity of residents in their hotel.”

At the meeting, officers found that there would be “no unacceptable overshadowing” due to the separation distance between the two buildings.

The report recorded one other objection to the hotel, which queried if the “heritage” street sign would be retained.

The report said that the objector had “no objection to any other part of the design proposed above, only to preserve a piece of our heritage.”

It is understood that the sign will be retained as part of the proposals.

Almost 1,000 homes to be built on former Dundrum hospital grounds in SHD development

By | Industry News

Nearly 1,000 homes are set to be built on the lands of the former Dundrum Central Mental Hospital.

The Land Development Agency announced its intentions to apply to An Bord Pleanala for a 10-year permission for a Strategic Housing Development on the grounds of the former hospital.

In current plans, the site is squarely placed in the immediate area of a number of proposed protected structures, namely the ‘Asylum’, the ‘Catholic Chapel’, and the ‘Hospital Building’.

With a total application site area of c.9.6 ha, the development will consist of 977 residential units – almost all apartments.

Of the 957 apartments, 423 will be one bedroom units, 317 will be two bedroom units (for four people), 37 will be two bedroom units (for three people), 110 will be three bedroom units and 53 will be studio apartments.

Further 17 apartments will be duplex, consisting of three bedroom units and 14 three bedroom units.

Current plans see all apartments having private balconies and terraces as well as a communal amenity open space provision – including courtyards and a roof garden.

Of the other homes envisioned, 20 two and three storey houses are in current provisions, consisting of seven three bedroom units and 13 four bedroom units.

The development will also consist of 3,889 sqm of non-residential uses with the change of use and renovation of the existing single storey Gate Lodge building to provide a café.

A restaurant, six retail units, a medical unit, a community centre and a childcare facility with an associated outdoor play area are also included in the application.

The development will consist of the demolition of existing structures on the site, including a single storey former swimming pool and sports hall, a two storey redbrick building, a single storey ancillary and temporary structures and removal of existing internal subdivisions/ fencing, including removal of security fence at Dundrum Road entrance.

A demolition of a section of the porch and glazed screens at Gate Lodge building, the removal of walls adjacent to the Main Hospital Building and alterations and removal of sections of the wall to the Walled Garden are also included in current plans.

Provisions for public open spaces, cycle and pedestrian routes and parking are also accounted for.

Vehicles will be able to access the site from the existing access area off Dundrom Road and a new access area also off Dundrum Road to the south.