Located on Dublin City's northside, Grangegorman is an area traditionally associated with St Brendan's Hospital, the psychiatric unit that served Dublin as well as Wicklow, Louth and Meath. The Dublin 7 hospital – with a site amounting to 73 acres – closed in 2013, with patients relocated to the Phoenix Care Centre. The land parcel that became vacated has since been undergoing development by the Grangegorman Development Agency, who in their own words are creating "a new urban quarter in Dublin's north inner city".
The focus of this redevelopment is the creation of DIT’s new state-of-the-art campus, which will see all the elements of the third-largest university in the country housed under one roof. By their very nature, universities provide a dynamism and injection of youth into an area, which can often serve to revitalise it and the projected DIT plans come as a very welcome boost to the area in that regard.
The surrounding area of Dublin 7 has itself undergone something of a transformation in recent years, with the adjacent Smithfield and Stoneybatter areas developing into two of the more attractive towns to live in across the city centre areas of Dublin 1, 2, 7 and 8. Smithfield Square's main drag is the area's social hub with a strip of coffee shops, restaurants and bars, as well as the Light House Cinema and a Fresh supermarket giving a market- town feel, while at the same time just a short walk or Luas journey to O'Connell Street.
The nearby Stoneybatter and Arbour Hill are of a similar ilk with Lilliput Stores, A Slice of Cake Cafe and Boss Hot Yoga Studio direct examples of the hipsterfication of the area.
All of those various elements tie in to make the area hugely desirable to live in, and as the property market steadily grows following the carnage that came about as a result of the Celtic Tiger years, plans are afloat to create more homes in the wider area to cater for the growing demand.
"As a place to live, there have been significant changes in Dublin 7 over the past 10 years," says John Farrell, Hooke and McDonald estate agents' sales negotiator for Dublin 7. "Factors that have helped those changes have been, firstly, the Luas line, which enables people to conveniently get to work. Secondly, people's outlook has changed, due to smaller family sizes, city-centre living is more sustainable. All the new shops and restaurants have also made the area more desirable to live in."
New properties coming on the market
From the start of the recession until last year, the area, like so much of the country, ground to halt in terms of construction. That’s changed in the past 18 months as developers tentatively begin to commence projects in the area immediately surrounding Grangegorman.
"Over the past 10 years nothing was built. But that has begun to change," says Farrell. "We've recently been involved with a new block of apartments on Smithfield Square called Oxmantown Lofts, developed by Mark and Andrew Cosgrave of The Dublin Loft Company. All residents have moved in over the last six months and all of those residents are owner occupants. Next September we'll also release Dawson's Place, which will contain 25, two- and three-bedroom houses, that will help supply levels in the area, and we expect most of those buyers to be owner occupants."
The Dawson’s Place development, which is on the border of Stoneybatter and Arbour Hill, comes as a very welcome move indeed at a time when property is in scarce supply in an area that has in the past balanced tradition and modern development so well. Much of what is currently in the area in terms of apartments is investor owned through the Section 23 scheme and – while that may have been an appropriate manner of selling in previous years – the new property hunger in the country will likely lead to an upsurge in other occupier-owned developments over the coming five years.
As it stands, there is already a small selection of both apartments and houses in the area, many in need of substantial refurbishment. For those looking to start a family, education in the catchment area is catered for by the Educate Together Primary School, Stanhope Street Primary School, St Paul's Primary and Secondary School, St Gabriel's Primary, Mount Carmel Secondary School and St Joseph's Secondary School. Vitally important green space for recreational use is also catered for by the nearby Phoenix Park and also the smaller, but more centrally located, King's Inns Park.
On a corner of Grangegorman Road Lower is The Barbers: a bar-barber hybrid, which serves as a very direct example of the innovation that is being attempted in the area and exemplifies the vision of turning Grangegorman and Dublin 7 into a commercial and residential hub that is as enterprising as, say, Dublin 2. This won’t happen overnight, but if plans continue as directed, within the next five years, this area looks destined to become one of the most vibrant in the city, making right now a superb time to either move to, or, invest in the area. Combined with the increase in footfall from the DIT campus, the area’s future could be very promising indeed.
Grangegorman fact box
What developments are coming up? Dawson’s Place development is under construction and will bring 25, two- and three-bed houses to the market in September, 2017. Marketing for the properties will commence in April through Hooke and McDonald.
What are the going rates for existing property in the area? Small one-bed apartments in the surrounding area are good value and can be bought for around €145k to €185k. A more high-spec two-bed apartment is around €285k. A two-bed period terrace, in need of renovation, can be fetched for the very competitive price of €270k.
What’s for sale right now
Two-bed terraced house at 31 Great Western Villas, Phibsboro, Dublin 7, for €270k for sale through Lappin Estates
Three-bed, one bath, apartment at 14B Smithfield Market, Dublin 7, for €375,000 through Turley Properties
Three-bed, mid-terrace house at 9 Dalymount, Phibsboro, Dublin 7, for auction through Allsop on May 17th, AMV of €250k