Developers surge to offload sites to Land Development Agency

More than 100 submissions made to sell large scale housing sites to State agency

Cash-strapped developers and landowners have flocked to a Land Development Agency (LDA) scheme which allows them to offload large housing sites they have been unable to complete.

LDA chief executive John Coleman said the State body had seen a "huge volume" of submissions for inclusion in Project Tosaigh, a €1.25 billion scheme to buy land with planning permission or homes where development has stalled largely due to a lack of finance.

The scheme, which opened for submissions in November, is focused on sites with the potential for more than 150 homes. The LDA can buy sites and housing or enter into a “forward purchase agreement” to acquire the homes with payment on completion.

“We have received in excess of 100 different proposals, so there was a very strong interest in Project Tosaigh and I think that underlines the need for it,” Mr Coleman said. “Because we got a huge volume of submissions, we focused on those that have nearer-term delivery potential.”


The LDA was finalising discussions with a number of homebuilders across the greater Dublin area, as well as in Cork, Waterford, Meath and Kildare with a view to providing homes this year for affordable purchase or cost-rental schemes. These houses and apartments would be the first homes delivered by the LDA, Mr Coleman said, and would be in "better value" locations.

“Obviously we’re not targeting very expensive, higher-end properties. We want to make them affordable for people, that’s the whole point of it – it’s entirely focused on affordable housing.”

Mr Coleman rejected suggestions that the scheme was a “bailout” for overextended developers.

“The areas we are targeting and the nature of the developments certainly don’t leave massive amounts of profit for developers in terms of the prices we are looking at.”

While costs will vary nationally, a cost-rental apartment could cost the State in the region of €350,000. “We will drive the value-for-money piece as strongly as we can,” he said. “The spend will approximate the market value of homes but we will drive for discounts where we can because we’re a bulk purchaser.”

Separately, the LDA has lodged applications for more than 2,300 homes on State lands in recent weeks on sites in Dundrum, Balbriggan, Skerries and Naas. Construction is expected to start this year on LDA sites at Shanganagh in south Dublin and St Kevin's Hospital in Cork.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times