Cairn Homes to build 320 properties on Dublin site

Fast-track planning application for Marino site set to be lodged in coming weeks

Cairn Homes is planning to build 320 residential properties on its Griffith Avenue site in Dublin 9.

According to an email exchange between the company and Irish Water seen by The Irish Times, Cairn, one of Ireland's largest homebuilders, was planning to make an application to An Bord Pleanála before last Christmas.

The company, with a dual listing on the Dublin and London stock exchanges, was planning to submit an application under strategic housing development – or fast-track – conditions before the end of last year; however, it is now understood it intends to seek permission in the second quarter of this year.

Cairn acquired the Griffith Avenue site in Marino, along with other assets, from Argentum Property in 2016 for €105.6 million. On acquisition the site had permission for 101 dwellings, consisting of houses and apartments. At the time the company said construction was due to commence shortly.


If Cairn goes ahead with an application under the fast-track system An Bord Pleanála will have 16 weeks to decide on the plans, and it can approve them, modify them or refuse them.

Fast-track system

Cairn has done well out of the fast-track system since its introduction, seeing plans for its Stillorgan development comprising 130 residential apartments and 179 student accommodation units approved in March.

This approval follows on from the planning permission granted to Cairn for the development of student accommodation in Cork Street, Dublin 8, where the company plans to construct 90 student units comprising 399 beds, a gym, study spaces and communal lounges.

Additionally, Cairn currently has an application in for 320 houses, 142 apartments and 483 student bed spaces in Maynooth, Co Kildare.

Cairn's contact with Irish Water comes after it instanced difficulty with supply capacity for a Maynooth site to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in a meeting last November. That issue has since been resolved with Cairn paying part of the cost of laying pipes.

The contact with Irish Water in relation to the Griffith Avenue site forms part of a standard pre-connection inquiry application.

Documents obtained by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act detail applications for a number of sites from Cairn, including its Shackelton Park site in Lucan where the State utility quoted it a fee of more than €112,454 for connection.

Cairn, which in 2015 became the first Irish homebuilder in almost two decades to float on the stock market, said in March that it swung into a pretax profit of €6 million last year from a €2.8 million loss for 2016, aided by the sale of 418 new homes at an average of €315,000 each.

Aside from Griffith Avenue, Cairn has a number of sites on which it is planning imminent development including Montrose, in Dublin 4, which formerly formed part of RTÉ's campus. Cairn acquired the land in Donnybrook last year for €107.5 million and is planning to build 500 apartments and 10 houses on the site.

Cairn has spent at least €887 million purchasing development land since its initial public offering in 2015. The company is Dublin-centred and almost half of its investment has been on sites within the M50.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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