Demolition of 100-year-old council flats in Dublin planned

Moss Street complex to make way for hotels and apartments

One of Dublin city's oldest social housing flat complexes is set to be demolished and replaced with hotels and apartments, under plans submitted to Dublin City Council.

Brigante Investments, a subsidiary of Tetrarch Capital, has sought permission to redevelop the site of the Moss Street flats, close to City Quay in the southeast inner city, as part of a hotel, retail and office development on a site of almost one acre.

The proposal would involve the construction of four eight-storey blocks, including a hotel with 393 bedrooms; two “aparthotel” blocks, one with 136 studios, another with 66 studios; and an apartment block with 14 one-bed units and seven two-bed units.

In February Dublin City Council agreed to hand over the site of the Moss Street complex of 24 flats to the developers in exchange for the 21 new apartments which would be used for social housing. Councillors did not at the time know if Tetrarch planned to retain any elements of the 100-year-old complex.


Derelict building

The Moss Street flats were completed in 1917 and were, along with identical buildings on nearby Luke Street and Townsend Street, among the earliest purpose-built social housing in the city. They were built in response to that era’s housing crisis, marked by worsening slum conditions in tenement houses which came to a head in 1913, when the collapse of two houses on Church Street killed several tenants.

The redbrick building on the corner of Moss Street and Gloucester Street, one block east of Tara Street railway station, has been derelict for more than a decade, following the council’s decision to move tenants out because the accommodation did not meet modern living standards.

An independent building survey it commissioned in 2007 said the complex could be reused after a significant upgrade, but no progress was made.

‘Dilapidated tenement building’

In 2013 Nabco, now renamed Co-operative Housing Ireland, said it would be willing to take on the refurbishment. Preliminary plans were drawn up which would see the flats retain their original facade with an extension to the rear to provide 30 new apartments.

These would be offered to tenants from the council’s social housing waiting list. At the time the cost of the work was estimated at about €2.2 million, but the plan never went ahead. In its application to the council the Tetrarch said it plans to demolish all structures on the site, including the flats and Ned’s pub on Townsend Street. The flat complex was a “dilapidated tenement building” and not a protected structure, and the cost of its refurbishment would be “prohibitive” it said. Ned’s was a building of “no historical or architectural merit” it said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times