Guinness to turn St James’s Gate site into new urban quarter

Diageo seeking partner for 12.6-acre project in heart of Dublin

Diageo has announced plans to transform 12.6 acres at St. James’s Gate, home of Guinness, to create a new urban quarter, that will include residential, office and commercial space in the heart of Dublin’s Liberties area. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

Diageo has confirmed plans to develop 12.6 acres of its St James’s Gate site in the heart of Dublin in a major new rejuvenation project for the Liberties.

The Guinness brewer is looking for a development partner to help create a “dynamic” mixed-use urban district consisting of residential, office and commercial spaces.

The new quarter will be opened up with public spaces and streets and is to be fully integrated into the wider local community, the company said.

“Our vision is that St James’s Gate Quarter can act as a catalyst for the continued regeneration of the Liberties, one of Dublin’s most exciting areas,” said Diageo Ireland country director Oliver Loomes.

No financial details for the project have been provided, with Diageo insisting it does not currently know how much the development will likely cost and won’t until it has a development partner onboard.

It also said that while a large number of construction jobs will likely be created during the development period, it did not know exactly how many. However, it added it would hope to take on a number of people from the local area, as it did during the construction of the €169 million Brewhouse 4, which opened in 2014.

Guinness residence

Diageo, which will be moving some operations to the northern part of the site to free up space, said it planned to retain ownership and custodianship of a number of key buildings in the quarter, including St James’s Gate itself and Arthur Guinness’s residence.

“We are really looking forward to opening up such this historic site. We intend to create one of the most dynamic urban quarters in Ireland and indeed Europe, transforming the historic fabric of these buildings in an adventure that embraces new and old, residential and commercial, to create what we are calling St James’s Gate Quarter,” said Mr Loomes.

“Our aim is to repurpose some of the wonderful old vat houses, cooperages and brewhouses, where Guinness was originally built, and to transform them into incredible spaces for a new generation of entrepreneurs, residents, visitors, dreamers and doers,” he added.

The drinks giant said that given the size of the project the development would be phased over a lengthy period. The tender process alone, which is to be managed by Deloitte Real Estate and opens on Wednesday, is expected to take 18 months to complete.

Breffni O’Reilly, quality director at Diageo Ireland, said it would likely be “a number of years” before the quarter was finished.

“Once the tender process is completed, the successful bidder will be developing a masterplan detailing how the development will happen that will need regulatory approval,” he said.

Diageo has already submitted a feasibility study to Dublin City Council for the project. Prepared by architects and planning consultants, the study suggests that the 12.6-acre site has the potential to deliver 63,000sq m of office space, 5,000 sq m retail space and 22,000 sq m for hotel and leisure facilities.

As many as 500 new homes with a 48,000sq m footprint is also envisaged, with Mr Loomes saying he hoped the Iveagh Trust, which was founded in 1890 by Sir Edward Guinness, would be the social housing partner for the development.

Earlier this year, Diageo announced plans to invest €25 million to develop a new whiskey distillery on the site of the former Guinness Power Station at St James’s Gate. In addition, it recently invested a €16 million expansion at the Guinness Storehouse, the most popular tourist attraction in the country.