Department of Education pays €24m for DIT building on Cathal Brugha Street
Sale is expected to open the way for a planned 1,000-pupil post-primary school
The DIT building on Cathal Brugha Street has been sold for about €24m. Photograph: Dave Meehan
The long-running campaign to sell off the Dublin Institute of Technology catering college buildings just off Dublin’s O’Connell Street has finally been completed with the disposal of extensive buildings to the Department of Education and Skills for about €24 million.
Given the tourist boom of recent years, most parties bidding for the college had planned to convert it into hotel use – hardly surprising given its proximity to the Gresham Hotel, which was sold to Spain’s RIU Hotel and Resorts for €92 million in 2016.
The interlinking college buildings on Cathal Brugha Street and Marlborough Street were originally offered for sale in 2016 at over €15 million but later withdrawn because of uncertainty over the timeframe for the relocation of the college to the new DIT campus in Grangegorman, Dublin 7.
The delay proved fortuitous in the circumstances and the property was put back on the market to help fund the signing of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and the construction of two flagship buildings to cater for 10,000 students and 600 staff in Grangegorman.
These are due to be ready for occupation by the 2020/21 academic year, when DIT intends to vacate Cathal Brugha Street college.
Asked about plans for Cathal Brugha Street, a spokesman for the Department of Education and Skills said it was “actively seeking to identify solutions to meet accommodation requirements in Dublin including for a significant proportion of the 42 new schools planned for the next four years”.
The department “cannot confirm whether there had been engagement on a specific property for reasons of commercial sensitivity”, the spokesman said.
Agent WK Nowlan, who brought the city centre buildings on to the market, has refused to comment.
The Cathal Brugha Street Dublin Institute of Technology includes two properties: the original early 1940s art deco-style building fronting on to Cathal Brugha Street, Marlborough Street and Thomas Lane and a connected 1990s building opening on to Marlborough Street.
The four-storey, over-basement Cathal Brugha Street building has a floor area of 7,127sq m (76,712sq ft), with impressive internal features in keeping with its art deco style.
Marlborough Street is a modern part-seven/part-eight storey over-basement building with a gross internal floor area of 3,624sq m (39,004sq ft). The accommodation includes a series of laboratories, tiered lecture rooms, store rooms and administrative offices.