What is the value of RTÉ's Montrose site? Maybe not as much as people think

Presence of listed buildings likely to affect any sale price

A valuation of RTÉ's Montrose campus site in Donnybrook, South Dublin is under way with “all options on the table” regarding the sale of the land, the broadcaster’s director general Kevin Bakhurst has said.

Mr Bakhurst said he hopes to have the valuation within the “next couple of weeks” and that an estimate of €500 million based on previous land sold was “probably not right”.

Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Media on Wednesday, Mr Bakhurst said: “All options are on the table as far as the site on Montrose goes ... which is full sale of the site, partial sale of the site or doing nothing. I don’t think doing nothing is an option so that’s not really on the table.”

The director general said there were “some issues” in terms of the sale of the whole 23.5-acre site, including that a number of buildings had been listed in recent years, which would impact on the overall value.


Minister of State with responsibility for Office of Public Works Patrick O’Donovan said in recent days that RTÉ should consider selling the Montrose site to help alleviate its financial difficulties and that it could receive more than €300m for the site. The calculation is based on the broadcaster’s sale of just under nine acres of land at Montrose to Cairn Homes for €107.5m six years ago.

“If Virgin Media can broadcast out of an industrial estate in Ballymount, it begs the question why are RTÉ broadcasting out of one of the most lucrative sites in western Europe,” Mr O’Donovan said.

Fine Gael senator Micheál Carrigy told the Oireachtas committee that based on the previous sale, the site was now worth “about €500m”, which Mr Bakhurst said he suspected was “probably not right”.

The director general said there was one listed building on the part of the site previously sold and five on the current site. He also noted overall land value had reduced since 2017.

An industry source told The Irish Times that calculating the value of the site was “not a simple set of maths” due to the number of listed buildings that had to be retained.

“They are protected structures and they are quite considerable and I think in three separate locations on the site,” the source said.

“I also understand it is Z12 zoned, which means about 25 or 30 per cent of it has to be retained for open space. The problem is a lot of people are doing a straight pro rata [calculation], which is absolutely nonsense.

“The reality is the land market over the last number of years, people don’t really understand the challenges around viability of building. The land market has been pretty benign for the last five or six years. I wouldn’t argue that values are lower but they are certainly not substantially higher than they were a number of years ago.”

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times