Student accommodation block opposite UCD shut amid fire safety concerns

Private 210-bed complex in former Montrose Hotel likely to stay closed for academic year

Private student accommodation provider Aparto has said it had ‘no option’ but to ‘immediately’ suspended the use of the building. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Private student accommodation provider Aparto has said it had ‘no option’ but to ‘immediately’ suspended the use of the building. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

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A large south Dublin student accommodation complex has been shut down, and its residents relocated, following the detection of fire safety problems with the building.

It is understood the 210-bed Montrose student residence opposite UCD, formerly the Montrose Hotel, is likely to be closed for the full academic year because of the extent of the remedial works required.

Returning residents and new students who had reserved places in the complex, run by private student accommodation provider Aparto, were told in recent days the company had “no option” but to “immediately” suspended the use of the building.

“This means you will not be able to move in to Montrose as expected at the start of your tenancy date,” a letter sent to students states.

“I know this is a huge imposition as you are due to move in shortly – and I want to apologise sincerely for this disruption – but the safety of our residents and staff has to be our number one priority and we therefore see no option but to take this decision. ”

A small number of students who had stayed on in the complex during the summer months have been found alternative accommodation.

Other complexes

The fire safety problems, the nature of which is understood to be still under investigation, emerged during recent renovation works to the outside of the 1960s building. When the problems were detected, the company decided to close down the building.

“This proactive decision taken by Aparto management, is due to a fire safety issue which emerged as a result of its own commissioned inspection and follow up assessment of the building, which was conducted in conjunction with ongoing renovation works,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

“Aparto has apologised unreservedly to all those impacted by this decision while reiterating that the safety of residents and staff is a top priority.”

It said it has arranged for all those booked in for the coming academic year to transfer to alternative accommodation in Dublin city centre. Students will be entitled to a full refund should they choose not to opt for the alternative accommodation on offer.

The three other Aparto complexes are not close to UCD, but are in the city centre, at the Binary Hub on Thomas Street on the southside, and Dorset Point on Dorset Street and Beckett House in Summerhill on the northside.

Compensation offered

The company said it understood many students chose the Montrose location because of its proximity to UCD and has offered to pay for an annual Leap bus pass or a voucher towards a bike or scooter to the value of €1,000 for those who transfer their license agreement to another Aparto building on a 51, 43 or 41 week lease.

The Montrose building is the only Aparto student residence which was not purpose build. US-based developer Hines, which owns Aparto bought the complex in 2017 for €37.6 million, after the old hotel had already been converted into a student block by UK student accommodation provider Ziggurat.

The Montrose Hotel, built in 1964, was once one of Dublin’s best-known hotels, but ceased trading in 2010.