€41m student housing complex gets planning permission

400-bed development to be built near St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin

Planning permission has been granted for a €41 million 400-bedroom student housing complex near St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The development, which also includes shops, restaurants, cafes and a gym, is to be built on a 2.5 acre site on Mill Street in Newmarket in the southwest inner city.

The approved plans for Mill Street, which will be built over five blocks, will contain a range of study bedrooms and student community spaces, was passed by An Bord Pleanala earlier this week.

The site is being developed in a partnership between Global Student Accommodation (GSA) Group and the property investment and management company, The Creedon Group. GSA is to fund and develop the student accommodation and once completed, will operate it under the brand name Uninest.


GSA said it expects 150 new jobs to be created during the construction phase with a further 15 full-time positions coming onstream once the development opens in September 2017.

Details of the complex were first revealed in The Irish Times in October 2014.

Most of the existing buildings on the site are former industrial premises and will be cleared prior to construction. However a derelict pre-Georgian townhouse at 10 Mill Street, one of the last remaining “Dutch Billy” style 17th century houses in Dublin, will be restored and reused as part of the development. On completion, the scheme will be known as Uninest Mill Street.

GSA said archaeological work has already started on the site with a number of historic tanning pits have been discovered. The company has committed to retain artefacts, offer them to local museums and display others in publicly accessible areas once the project has been completed.

"We're delighted to have received planning permission for our inaugural development, which we intend to act as beacon of regeneration and development in the Newmarket area. We aim to make a real difference to our student residents' lives providing a great student living experience which helps students study, live well and get the most from their time at university," said Aaron Bailey, development and project manager for GSA Dublin.

A Dubai-based student accommodation development and management group, GSA already runs similar purpose-built schemes in central London, Dubai, Tokyo, China and Australia, but the Mill Street development will be its first in Dublin. However, the company says it intends to invest some €250 millon in the capital in the next five years.

Young people moving to Dublin to take up college places have had a tough time of it lately due to an acute shortage of rental accommodation.

The latest rental report by property website Daft, which was published in mid-August, shows the number of properties available to rent in Ireland remains extraordinarily tight, with just 4,600 units available on August 1st, as against 6,800 on the same day a year earlier. By comparison, on August 1st, 2009, there were an estimated 23,000 properties to rent nationwide.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist