Cairn Homes plans 107 high-end apartments in Dublin scheme

Developer previously had permission to build 22 houses on Rathgar site

Cairn Homes said it has sold more than 200 apartments and houses in the Marianella development, where it intends to deliver 336 units in total. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Irish listed housebuilder Cairn Homes is seeking permission to build 107 apartments at its high-end scheme at Marianella in Rathgar, Dublin 6, on a site where it previously had permission for 22 houses.

It’s understood that Cairn plans to sell these apartments to an institutional investor involved in the build-to-rent sector, a prospect that has raised concerns among residents who have already bought units in the complex.

The housebuilder has completed a pre-application consultation with An Bord Pleanála, which concluded the information Cairn submitted was sufficient to ground a formal application to the board.

While the pre-application information is not made public, The Irish Times understands that Cairn is looking to develop the apartments as a build-to-rent scheme.


In a statement, Cairn said it has not “entered negotiations or agreed to sell any part of the development to an institutional investor or private operator”.

“In response to the changed planning guidelines, Cairn, in consultation with planning authorities, has submitted a design for two apartment blocks, featuring 107 apartments for the site. This application will ensure the best use of the land, enabling Cairn to better meet market demand at more competitive prices,” the company said.


At a meeting on November 7th with residents of the Marianella development, Cairn suggested they could be on site to build the apartments by next May. It will take a further 18 months to build the blocks after that.

It is understood Cairn intends to construct one five-storey building and a six-storey block. The company also plans to develop 72 car-parking spaces above ground.

In June, Cairn, which is dual-listed on the Irish and London stock exchanges, sold its 120-unit Six Hanover Quay development to Carysfort Capital, an Irish real-estate investment manager. The sale, for €101 million, represented an average gross sales price for the residential units of €800,000.

The 22 properties that were slated to be built on the north of the Marianella site would have been similar to the 12 homes build on the south portion of the land. Prices for those five-bed semi-detached houses started from €1.6 million.

It’s not clear how many of those remain to be sold but some were being advertised on property website by selling agents Hooke & MacDonald and Knight Frank.

Residents of the Marianella development agreed to allow Cairn change plans for the site when they signed their sales contracts. However, a change of this scale wasn’t expected, according to one resident.

“Cairn Homes has always communicated that this would be a separate development within Marianella as opposed to an extension of the existing development,” the company said in a statement.

In a recent presentation to investors, Cairn said the private rented sector in Ireland is now a "distinct asset class attracting significant interest as evidenced by the sale of Six Hanover Quay", and noted that there was a "very positive outlook" for institutional investors in Dublin.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business