Sites worth more than €430m vacant in Dublin

Hoarded development land could accommodate thousands of dwellings

The most expensive vacant site in Dublin is the former Player Wills cigarette factory on the South Circular Road, valued at €23.8 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Vacant sites worth more than €430 million, which could be used for the development of thousands of houses, have been identified across Dublin city and county.

Since January, local authorities have had the power to impose a levy on property owners who fail to develop prime housing land.

The levy, set at 3 per cent of the value of the land for this year and 7 per cent for subsequent years, must be paid from 2019. Local authorities had until June 1st to inform property owners of the intention to impose levies on their land.

More than 100 properties with a combined value of just under €250 million have been listed on Dublin City Council’s register of vacant sites. However, the council has yet to value 21 of the listed sites, including several in its ownership, making the likely value of the vacant lands in the city significantly higher.


Currently, the most expensive site in the city is the former Player Wills cigarette factory on the South Circular Road, valued at €23.8 million. Its neighbouring site, the former Bailey Gibson packaging plant, is also on the register, valued at €12.5 million. Players Square Ltd had permission to build more than 500 homes on the combined sites, which are now under the control of receivers Grant Thornton.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has just 13 sites listed on its register, only six of which have been valued to date. However, those six sites have a combined value of €140 million, again indicating a substantially higher value will eventually be placed on the hoarded development land in the area.

Leopardstown site

The Dún Laoghaire lands include the State's most valuable vacant site, a €66.5 million plot in Leopardstown, owned by Horse Racing Ireland, which councillors have estimated could be used to build 1,000 social and affordable homes.

Fingal County Council has listed six sites, four of which are owned by two companies registered at the same address in Tyrrelstown Town Centre, Hasak Ltd and Bardus Ltd, and refer to sites in the Tyrrelstown and Hollystown area. Two of the sites have been valued at €13 million each.

South Dublin County Council has registered eight sites, but has so far valued just five of them. These lands have the lowest values in Dublin, coming to a combined total of just under €6.8 million, with a €2.75 million plot in Newcastle attracting the highest valuation.

To be hit with the levy, the vacant sites must be bigger than 0.05 of a hectare, excluding gardens. The majority of the site must be “vacant or idle” for more than 12 months, be zoned for residential or regeneration purposes, and be in an area in need of housing.

Property owners have 28 days to object to their site being put on the register after they are notified by the council. If the council decides the property should still be on the register, the owner has another 28 days to appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times