Dublin industrial estates to be transformed for housing

Council has identified four industrial areas it sees as 'new key growth areas of the city'

Newtown Industrial Estate in Coolock is one of four industrial areas Dublin City Council has identified as “new key growth areas of the city”. Photograph: Collins

Up to two-thirds of Dublin city's industrial estates and business parks are set to be redeveloped for housing under new plans from Dublin City Council.

The council intends to redesignate large tracts of lands zoned for employment and enterprise purposes so they can be used to build thousands of homes to tackle the capital’s housing crisis.

The council's head of housing, Brendan Kenny, last year said the city would "run out" of residentially zoned development land in four years and must turn its attention to industrial estates as a source of new housing land.

Since then the council’s planning department has assessed 82 industrial zoned sites across the city to determine their suitability for housing use. It has determined that 35 per cent of sites zoned for employment/enterprise should be retained for their “economically strategic nature” or future job potential, but the remaining land should be rezoned to facilitate housing.


In a report to be presented to city councillors – who will have to approve the rezoning – city planner John O’Hara will say on Tuesday at least 50 per cent of all new homes in Dublin city and suburbs must be within “existing built-up areas”.

“The NPF [National Planning Framework] particularly highlights the need to focus on underutilised lands within the canals and the M50 ring.”

Key sites

While a number of small-scale and one-off factory sites, would be suitable for housing, the council has identified four industrial areas, totalling more than 270 hectares, which it sees as “new key growth areas of the city”.

These are Jamestown Business Park and Finglas Business Centre, just south of the M50 in Finglas; the Dublin Industrial Estate opposite Glasnevin cemetery; industrial areas near Coolock and Oscar Traynor Road, including the Malahide Road Industrial Park and Newtown Industrial Estate; and to the southwest of the city, lands around Kylemore Road, Park West Road and the Inchicore Railway Works.

These large sites account for 45 per cent of the lands to be rezoned and would be most suitable for mixed-use development with housing and local employment developments, the council said. The rezoning could result in a windfall for land owners whose sites are no longer commercially viable, but who have been unwilling to sell up because of the lower property values attached to industrially zoned lands.

The sites would be suitable for high-density apartment development, and could accommodate some high-rise buildings, taking advantage of the Government’s removal of caps on height last December.

While these lands are in private ownership, the council hopes the change in zoning would encourage owners to either sell or form development partnerships for the land.

Heavy industrial lands, such as Dublin Port lands and Guinness lands at St James's Gate are not being considered for housing, the council said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times