‘All our life savings went into buying this apartment’

College Gate housing complex threatened by MetroLink development

Resident of College Gate Apartments in Townsend Street, Dublin, which is to be demolished to make space for the MetroLink rail station. Photograph: Tom Honan

Resident of College Gate Apartments in Townsend Street, Dublin, which is to be demolished to make space for the MetroLink rail station. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Greta Tumiatti and her husband Nicola rented in the College Gate complex on Townsend Street in Dublin for nine years until they eventually saved enough money to buy their own apartment in the same block.

“All our life savings went into buying this apartment. The sale went through in March, I think it was about a week later that we found out there were plans to demolish the building.”

Although already living in the complex, they had done considerable research before buying, she said.

“We had done our homework, looked at plans for what was being developed in the area, our lawyer had done all the usual searches, but this never came up,” Tumiatti says. “We were so happy one day and then the next our lives our put on hold. It’s very, very stressful.”

Their apartment is one of 70 in the complex which is set to be demolished to make way for the construction of the Metro Link rail line.

Guillaume and Blanche de Montalivet bought a two-bedroom apartment in the complex last August.

“We were shocked when we found out. We have two kids, but we want a bigger family but you couldn’t have three kids here, we just feel we’ll be stuck with an apartment we can’t sell,” he said.

Apartment owners will be compensated for the loss of their homes if the compulsory purchase goes ahead, but feel opportunities to buy in the area will be limited.

“They are planning to demolish homes at the height of a housing crises. Everyone will be looking for the same type of home at the same time, and apartments are not being built in this area, it’s all offices and student accommodation,” he says.

Residents are also concerned that the length of time rail infrastructure takes to progress means their homes will lose value before they are bought out.

Considerable investment has been made in the communal areas over the years, including recent replacement of both lifts, owner Gordon Rose says.

“With this hanging over us now, are people going to keep paying their management fees or will the place just be left to go down hill? Will we be living in a crummy building we can’t afford to sell?”

Emmett Quanne said, who has been renting an apartment for 12 years , said people have put down roots in the complex, which was built in the late 1990s and do not want to leave.

“It may seem like a disparate group of renters, owners and landlords, but it’s a community, a unique modern community, and we all have made lives here.”