A planning application has just been submitted for 541 student bed spaces as part of the redevelopment of the Tesco-anchored Park Shopping Centre on Prussia Street in the Stoneybatter area of Dublin 7.
The 1984-built centre, opposite the site of a former cattle market off the North Circular Road, adjoins part of the DIT Grangegorman campus which will accommodate around 10,000 students by the end of 2017 and 20,000 upon completion in 2020.
DIT Grangegorman, long mooted and only recently starting to take shape, looks set to transform the fortunes of this neglected part of the inner city close to Smithfield.
Access to the new campus from the proposed development will involve creating portal openings in the former boundary wall, which is a protected structure, and building a new pedestrian and bicycle street connecting Prussia Street to the campus.
The development is a joint venture between the original owners of the Park centre, the Wilkinson family, and Jeff Carter of Grand Coast Capital. The Wilkinson family has owned the land since 1882.
The plans is to demolish the existing 17-unit shopping centre and numbers 42-45 Prussia Street and replace it with a new district centre in three blocks comprising a supermarket, restaurants, retail units and medical clinic.
Student accommodation will be located in a two- to six-storey complex with 105 housing units supplying the 541 bed spaces. There will be 117 surface and basement car-parking spaces.
Local Labour politician Joe Costello points out on his Facebook page that this is the "seventh planning application for student accommodation in the Stoneybatter area – one on Manor Street/Stoneybatter, two on Grangegorman Lower, one on Rathdown Road/North Circular Road, one Montpelier Hill and another one on Prussia Street".
The 125 student bed spaces in a seven-storey scheme planned by LHC Properties for Grangegorman Lower only got the green light from An Bord Pleanala last May.
A 220 student bed spaces scheme for a separate one-acre site on Prussia Street was turned down by both Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála either side of Christmas 2015.
A fresh application was submitted to Dublin City Council late last year for 203 bed spaces in 32 separate accommodation units at the former Motor Valu site at 84 - 87 Prussia Street, including the lands to the rear of the building.
Last month, international student accommodation company GSA got the green light from the appeals board for a 571-bedroom development nearby at Brunswick Street. It plans to invest €250 million in Dublin over the next five years and has already refurbished and fully-let the 101-bedroom Broadstone Hall in the north inner city to students for the 2016-2017 academic year.
Some 80,000 full-time students attend Dublin’s nine higher-education institutions and a further 100,000 students come to the city to study English language courses each year.
The recent Irish Government education strategy includes a goal of increasing international enrolment in Irish higher education by 33 per cent by 2020.
However, with almost no student housing built on or off campus in Dublin for several years, the supply of accommodation is tight.
This part of Dublin is set to get a further boost when the Luas Cross City line, which will run through DIT Grangegorman, is completed later this year.