New €40 million student accommodation project to bring 300 jobs to Dublin

Digital Hub development is ‘biggest’ construction project in Dublin this year

A €40 million development which will provide accommodation for 500 students has been announced for the Digital Hub in Dublin’s Liberties area.

The investment is one of the biggest since the foundation of the Digital Hub in 2001 and marks the next phase in its development.

It has already secured planning permission and construction is set to start in May.

The student accommodation will be developed by the London-based Knightsbridge Student Housing from the UK. It will then be offered on a contract basis to different universities.


The development will be located in Bonham Street, which is halfway between the Quays and Thomas Street and a thoroughfare will connect the two streets.

Digital Hub chief executive Edel Flynn said the scheme, which will be 10,650 square metres, is "one of the most significant office space developments of recent years in Dublin. It's the only construction projects of this size going on in Dublin this year."

Previous big plans for the Digital Hub, which would have involved nearly 52,000 square metres of additional space with developers Manor Park and P Elliott, were shelved as a result of the recession.

The latest developments showed confidence was returning to the construction industry in Dublin, Ms Flynn said.

“When the property market collapsed, those two sites effectively reverted to the Digital Hub. We still wanted construction and development to take place on site. So we put plans in place for phased development over 10 years and we tried to get in strategic investors to realise our vision.

“The Digital Hub always envisaged a mix of properties to attract digital media and technology companies to locate here. There is no better thing than to have students on the doorstep. It also adds to the vibrancy and footfall of the area and will support other businesses in the area.”

The area around the Digital Hub is one of the most visited in the country because of the Guinness Storehouse but it is run down with a lot of vacant buildings which the Digital Hub hope to develop over the coming years.

Ms Flynn said they are developing the area “slowly but surely because that’s all we can do.”

The announcement will be made later this morning by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte who said it was "excellent news" for the Liberties area.

He added: “The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs asks for cross-cutting measures with the potential to have a significant impact on job creation, and this development does exactly that. It should come as no surprise that it is the Digital Hub that is behind a project that is startling in its innovation and efficiency.”

As part of the project, Knightsbridge will also refurbish a 19th Century Grainstore building on the Digital Hub campus.

It is believed the building was originally part of the historic Marshalsea debtors’ prison located in The Liberties. It subsequently served as a grainstore for the Roe Distillery.

The refurbishment will require an investment of €3.51 million, and will provide The Digital Hub with an additional 10,650 square feet of enterprise office space.

Work on the refurbishment will commence in May, and is expected to be complete within a year.

Knightsbridge Student Housing will work with Bennett Construction to develop both the Grainstore building and the student housing.

It is expected to open for the new academic year in September 2016.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times