Tenants due to lose apartments to MetroLink to be offered year’s free rent
Owner-occupiers in the College Gate complex, will be offered market rate compensation, NTA says
Home to 58 tenants and 12 owner-occupiers, the College Gate demolition will include the street-level Markievicz Sport and Fitness Centre but this will also be rebuilt elsewhere, the NTA said.
Tenants due to lose their apartments to the proposed MetroLink project in Dublin are to be offered a year’s free rent and a dedicated real estate agent to help them secure alternative homes.
Owner-occupiers in the College Gate complex, which is facing demolition, will be offered market rate compensation as well as assistance in finding alternatives, the National Transport Authority (NTA) has said.
On Tuesday it confirmed its preferred route for the new rail system which will necessitate acquiring and removing the apartment building at the back of Tara Street train station under Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) terms.
Home to 58 tenants and 12 owner-occupiers, its demolition will include the street-level Markievicz Sport and Fitness Centre but this will also be rebuilt elsewhere, the NTA said.
The proposed move, which the NTA has insisted is the only viable option, has caused anxiety among residents given the hugely competitive and expensive city real estate market.
While the terms extended to owners under CPO are normal, the NTA has said it is taking extra steps to help renters find new homes.
Residents reacted with suspicion and anger - they had previously have been campaigning amid on concerns that alternative apartments will be difficult to find in the current market.
“It’s great that they are at least making a gesture of good will but all of the good will in the world will not make a block of 70 apartments appear in the city centre that people can move into and so by definition we are not going to get like-for-like,” said Gordon Rose (33) who moved into the complex in 2013.
Some owners are concerned at the prospect of having to pay rent while looking for somewhere to buy; others believe the quality of their current homes will be difficult to replicate.
A public meeting last November heard that transport authorities would face a “major fight” if they proceeded with plans to demolish the block.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), which has responsibility for its purchase and which has met with residents, is to employ a dedicated real estate agent to assist in sourcing other city centre apartments. With matters at an early stage, it is likely to be between three and five years before residents will be required to leave.
However, for some, anger at the proposition lingers. “There is a housing crisis in Dublin, it’s not the best time to be knocking homes,” said one owner who asked to remain anonymous. “Where are we going to find an apartment that is so nice?”
Speaking at Wednesday’s committee Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys said normal Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) procedures would not suffice in the case of College Gate and said property owners “can’t be banished out of their communities”.
However, CPO rules will mean that valuations will be arrived at based on market conditions.
Mr Creegan said the support package for those renting apartments went beyond what is obliged.
“The idea of compensating tenants for up to one year’s rent in another location, that’s outside the CPO process; that’s beyond what the CPO would normally require,” he said.
“And for the owner occupiers we are going to put in place a system of...assisting them [TO]find...alternative accommodation in a suitable location [BECAUSE]as you say, they are part of the community at this stage.”
Meanwhile, some residents are understood to be considering hiring a specialist consultant to scrutinise the NTA plans with a view to opposing them.