At home in . . . South Docklands
The tech hub has a high ratio of apartments to houses, with more schemes on the way
South Dockland’s has rapidly become one of Dublin’s most sought-after neighbourhoods thanks to its high concentration of tech companies, quality investment and rental property, waterfront cafes and restaurants all within a quick bike ride of the city centre. The area is bound by Ringsend Bridge to the east, Grand Canal Street to the south, Cardiff Lane to the west and the river Liffey to the north. The Grand Canal runs through its centre and into Grand Canal Dock, which is the cradle of the area, with its square a combination of clear- and black-glass structures, the sharp lines of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, the chequerboard design of the Marker Hotel, and wide open – if windy – public spaces for watching the world go by, and a string of eateries.
Behind the canal dock is a backdrop of cranes that highlight the construction and wealth that permeate the area. The residential housing lining the square, and the premises a little farther off the waterline, house many of the professionals working in Dublin’s tech sector and companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google, but they also cater for a much wider array of residents.
“Dublin Docklands was here a long time before tech companies arrived,” says Owen Reilly, an estate agent who has been selling properties in the area since 2004 and who set up his own business there in 2008, specialising in apartment sales and rentals. “The tech companies have contributed so much to the area, but the top-five law firms are down here: McCann Fitzgerald, A&L Goodbody, Matheson, William Fry and Dillon Eustace. You’ve got financial services in State Street and HSBC. In communications you have Three Ireland. And the Docklands is a hub for aircraft leasing for Ireland and Europe. You also have shipping and insurance. People from all these various industries live here. We find that a lot of non-Irish coming to work at these companies live in the Docklands because they don’t know Dublin and want to live a five- or 10-minute walk from the office.”
The homes in the area are almost exclusively apartments, and the residents largely single professionals or couples, says Reilly. “The apartments are largely one- and two-person households. The three-bed households are usually rented to a couple or three professionals. Having said that, a small portion of buyers are people with one or two children.”
Residents have the choice of shopping and socialising in the city or in villages such as Sandymount or Ringsend, while the growing restaurant scene around Baggot Street is also within easy reach.
The tiny Art of Coffee at the foot of the Altro Vetro building is one of the nicest dockside perches, while in summer residents take to the boardwalks to sunbathe. It’s a short walk up to the 3fe cafe on Lower Grand Canal Street, which symbolises the hipster-business culture that has grown in Dublin over recent years, with entrepreneur Niall Harbison and Irish rugby international Jamie Heaslip both regulars.
“Sprout Food Company is now open on the Campshires on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, and the French-themed À Table Café has just opened on Forbes Quay,” says Reilly. “There are a lot more developments coming soon. The demand for new restaurants in the Docklands is huge. The problem is that there are no buildings available for restaurants at the moment. But, of course, there are already many here, including the likes of Juniors and The Chop House, which are five-minute walks away in Sandymount and Ballsbridge.”
Hanover Lofts on Hanover Quay East is a scheme of 15 one- and two-bedroom units that launched this week, with prices starting at €415,000 through Hooke & MacDonald.
One of the most dominant structures in the South Docklands is Boland’s Mill, which is indelibly imprinted into the psyche of Irish history for its role as the home of the third battalion during the 1916 Rising. After many years of debate about the best use for this iconic building, it was decided the area would be zoned for a €170 million redevelopment, Boland’s Quay, which will incorporate retail, offices space and 41 residential units.
Cairn Homes are also bringing residential units to the South Docklands market through their site on Hanover Quay, bought for €18 million, with construction also under way on that project.
A third development is also under way, with the Los Angles-based real estate investment firm Kennedy Wilson’s build-to-let development at Capital Dock being constructed by John Sisk & Son.
With Brexit EU looming, there has also been increasing interest from more multinational companies in moving their European headquarters to the Docklands
All three of these developments will come to completion towards the end of 2018, bringing 600 apartments to the market – a mix of both rental properties and those for sale.
With Britain’s exit from the EU looming, there has also been increasing interest from more multinational companies in moving their European headquarters to the Docklands.
“We are starting to see tangible evidence of Brexit-related interest in Dublin, and some of that is focused on the Docklands,” says Reilly. “For example there is talk of JP Morgan and others coming to Grand Canal Dock.”
If one looks slightly outside the immediate sphere of the South Docklands, there are a number of fine opportunities in the older builds, including family homes for those who wish to be near the heart of the action, business-wise, but want a bigger living space. Nearby options include the picturesque terraced homes on Havelock Square and Pearse Square, and the affordable Portview apartments just across the canal in Ringsend village. Malone Gardens and Derrynane Gardens, in Sandymount, offer the chance to buy a reasonably priced family home just off the super desirable and expensive Bath Avenue.
Fifty years ago one could buy a house on the aforementioned Havelock Square for £170, with the old Lansdowne Road Stadium’s grey, blocky design lingering over the small residential square. A house on the square now goes for €700,000 plus, with the curved, smooth, glassy, white structure of the Aviva Stadium peering out over the red-brick domain. It’s a changed area whose accelerated growth shows no signs of letting up in the near future.
SOUTH DOCKLANDS FACT BOX
What developments are coming up?
Boland’s Quay is currently under construction and will bring 41 apartments to the market. The combination of enviable location and historic building makes this one of the most hotly anticipated construction projects in the country. Cairn Homes are developing another project at Hanover Quay, and Kennedy Wilson’s mixed-use development at Capital Dock is also under way, which will bring 190 residential apartments to the market by mid-2018.
What’s the market in the area?
In the South Docklands there are currently 21 properties for sale; all are apartments.
A two-bed apartment goes for €375,000-€650,000, with size, location, views and interiors all affecting the asking prices. One-bed prices start from about €300,000.
Two- and three-bedroom terraced homes in nearby Ringsend and Irishtown range in price from €350000 upwards, depending on condition. A two bedroom terraced house at Stella Gardens, Ringsend has just sold for €420,000, while a two-bed home on South Lotts Road recently made €435,000.
New and on view today: Hanover Lofts, Hanover Street East: 15 apartments priced from €415,000-€575,000. Viewing today and tomorrow 2.30pm-4.30pm. Agent: Hooke & MacDonald.
Three for sale:
One-bed, one-bath at 10 Hanover Quarter, Grand Canal, for €350,000. Agent: Owen Reilly
Two-bed, two-bath apartment at 20 Butler’s Court, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2, for €475,000. Agent: Owen Reilly
Two bed, two-bath apartment at 49 The Waterfront, Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, for €650,000. Agent: Owen Reilly