This article first appeared in The Irish Times.
Total of 378 bed spaces to be delivered at city scheme approved prior to December 2020 ban
A joint venture between Irish developer Grayling Properties and European private equity investor Crossroads Real Estate has paid €27.5 million for a site in Dublin city centre with full planning permission for a major co-living scheme.
While the figure represents a premium of 10 per cent on the €25 million joint agents Colliers and Cushman & Wakefield had been seeking when they offered the site for sale last September, the combination of its location on Cork Street and its ready-to-go development status saw strong interest and competitive bidding from a number of parties. Located on the grounds of the Old Glass Factory, the 1.1 acre (0.45 hectare) holding has planning permission for 378 bed spaces. The €27.5 million sale paid breaks back at €72,750 per bedspace.
While Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien banned co-living schemes in December 2020, Grayling Properties will be free to proceed with the development of the Cork Street site as the planning application for it predated the ban’s formal introduction on December 22nd that year. Although opposed by local residents and councillors, approval for the scheme was granted to the site’s previous owners at the end of 2020, with a direction from An Bord Pleanála that the number of units be reduced by 19.
Designed by architect John Fleming, the development comprises 378 bed spaces across 373 units ranging in size from 17sq m to 36sq m (183-388sq ft) within a seven-storey structure. It also includes a reception area, communal lounge/social room, a multipurpose room, a private function room, cinema, yoga space, a gym and workspace area, all on the ground floor. There is also a plan for a cafe, which could be separated from the co-living space, as well as 1,336sq m (14,380sq ft) of additional space on the lower ground-floor level, which the selling agents say could provide an opportunity for alternative stand-alone uses. The scheme is situated within close proximity to Weaver Park, a one-acre public amenity that forms part of the wider regeneration of Cork Street and the Liberties more generally.
Sale of the site to Grayling and Crossroads Real Estate comes just over 15 months on from its acquisition by another joint venture led by Swiss-based investor, Stoneweg.
At the time of its purchase and prior to the ban on co-living schemes, the Geneva-headquartered group had signalled its own intention to build out the Cork Street site, with its head of Ireland operations, Christian Falster, describing the project as a “strong addition” to the company’s portfolio of housing developments.
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