Lost city: Boom-time rejects


The Markets:Marketed as “Dublin’s Covent Garden” the redevelopment of the city’s Victorian fruit and vegetable market was to have been the centrepiece of a €425 million urban regeneration scheme for an area between Capel Street and Church Street.

The Markets Framework Plan, published by the council in 2005, envisaged the conversion of the fruit market into a retail and restaurant complex, redevelopment of the neighbouring former fish market with a civic square surrounded by shops, offices and apartments, and the construction of a three-storey sports, leisure and community centre.

Preparation for the scheme started in 2005, with demolition of the fish market and selection of a developer to undertake the regeneration.

In 2007 a consortium led by a Paddy Kelly firm subsequently collapsed. In 2010 the council sought to turn part of the site into a waste depot and recycling facility but was blocked by councillors.

Last year a more modest plan emerged. The council decided it would refurbish the market building, which is occupied by wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower sellers, and set aside 50 per cent of the space for an artisan food market. The wholesalers still using the building would be welcome to remain. It would cost no more than €1 million.

What now? The timeframe isn’t panning out. Working around the wholesale market is problematic. The council expects it will take most of next year to make substantial progress on the job.

Phibsborough Area Plan

A 2007 plan envisaged a transformation of the traffic-choked suburb with a new village centre on the site of Dalymount Park football ground and the Phibsborough shopping centre. Substantial residential developments at the former Smurfit site and the former Shandon Bakery at Cross Guns Bridge were also planned.

There was also the possibility of a boutique hotel in Mountjoy prison. New parks and leisure facilities, two new primary schools and a secondary school were also to be built. Three skyscrapers were also proposed. Plans for the prison were contingent on the new “super prison” at Thornton Hall in north Dublin being built. Last year plans for the prison were mothballed.

There has been no discernible change to Phibsborough since 2007. A deal with developer Liam Carroll to move Bohemians FC to a stadium at Harristown collapsed and Nama is now involved in the Dalymount/shopping centre site. The former Smurfit plant is also Nama-controlled.

What now?

The more grandiose elements are unlikely to emerge, but Phibsborough is not without potential. While it has lost out on the Metro North and the children’s hospital development, it is getting a Luas stop and does have the newly built adult hospital. The community is also active with the Phizzfest arts and culture festival.

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