Hines starts work on €2bn urban centre in south Dublin

Minister for Housing breaks ground at Cherrywood site for 8,000 new homes

US developer Hines has started work on a €2 billion urban centre in south Dublin that will eventually provide 8,000 new homes for 30,000 people.

The property company and private-equity firm King Street Capital bought a 412-acre site in Cherrywood in 2014 for €270 million from receivers appointed by the National Asset Management Agency and a group of banks.

On Thursday, the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney, formally broke ground on a development there that will transform the landscape.

Civil engineers Jons and John Cradock, hired by Hines, are building roads, putting in water and electricity and laying out parks in what will be the first phase of development.


Hines Ireland senior managing director Brian Moran said the company planned to follow this with a town centre that will include shops, offices, a cinema and 1,300 apartments. Work on this will employ 3,000 at peak and will cost €875 million.

“The planning application for this will be lodged in late March or early April and we hope to begin construction early next year,” he said.

From that point Hines and other developers will begin seeking permission to build the houses and apartments that will make up the bulk of Cherrywood. Ultimately they will build 8,000 homes.

Initial phase

Hines is spending €160 million on the initial phase. The final cost of the development will run to about €2 billion, but the company will not be footing this bill as other builders are set to participate in the project.

Dublin-listed Cairn Homes intends building 300 homes on a site that it bought from Hines for 21.5 million. It has an option to buy more land there for €9.2 million.

The US investor owns 60 per cent of the Cherrywood site that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council designated as a strategic development zone in 2008.

This allows the authority to fast-track planning applications for the area once conditions laid out in the zoning are met.

After the sod-turning ceremony, Mr Coveney said the Government would next month announce details of plans to provide €200 million to pay for infrastructure needed to facilitate house building.

The Minister explained that developers have told the Government that while they have land with planning permission to build homes, they cannot afford to pay for access roads, motorway bridges and other infrastructure needed at these sites.

“There are about 28,000 planning permissions for housing units in Dublin, but work is only under way on about 4,000 or 5,000, so clearly there is something wrong there,” he said.

Cherrywood belonged to builder Liam Carroll before his businesses collapsed in the property crash. State agency Nama and a group of banks appointed receivers Stephen Tennant and Paul McCann of Grant Thornton to it in 2014. They sold the land to Hines and King Street later that year.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas