Families offered prime Dublin site for €150,000

Council seeks owner-occupiers to design and build homes on Fishamble Street


A prime vacant site in Dublin’s south city centre with capacity for a six-storey apartment building is to be sold for just €150,000, but only to “citizen developers”.

Dublin City Council is seeking owner-occupiers to design and build their own family- sized homes on a council-owed site at Fishamble Street close to Christ Church Cathedral.

The council’s “Dublin House” project aims to demonstrate that city centre apartment living is not only a possible but a desirable option for families. To be eligible to buy the site, between two and four households must come together as a single group, like a co-op. They don’t have to be related, or have children, but must be prepared to build large multiple-bedroom apartments.

Claw-back option

The council has fixed the sale price at €150,000, but will expect the group to live in the apartments for at least 10 years, and could exercise a claw-back option if any are sold before that date. The sale of an apartment or the entire development to an investor for a “buy to rent” scheme will not be allowed.

Applications can be made to the council from now until September 19th. The groups must be able to prove they have the money, or can secure a mortgage for the development. The council has estimated the cost of developing the site, including the purchase price, at about €1.2 million.

Applicants do not need to have an architect or to have formulated any designs at this stage. The successful group will be chosen by lottery, and will engage their own architects and other professionals with a view to submitting a planning application for the site within six months of selection.

The plot at 29 and 30 Fishamble Street was the site of two 18th-century houses and is just a few doors from what is believed to be the city’s oldest house. The site can accommodate six storeys and about 400sq m of living space.

A commercial unit, managed and used by one of the households, could be incorporated into the ground floor, but no parking will be permitted as part of the development.

Apartment living for families

The idea behind the project was to promote owner-occupied family-living in the city and try to reverse the aversion of families to apartment living by allowing people to build the homes they wanted, city architect Ali Grehan said.

“This offers households an opportunity to come together as a group to design and develop the site in a way that suits their housing needs today and into the future.

“Through this innovative project, Dublin City Council also wishes to address the under-provision of this type of housing delivery in the city centre and hopes that this can be replicated elsewhere.”

The model could also provide a solution to a number of vacant council-owned plots around the city that are not suitable for social housing schemes but could be used for small-scale private housing.

Information on the project is available at dublincity.ie.