O’Devaney Gardens build to be shelved unless €7m deal agreed

Redevelopment to be ‘abandoned’ unless councillors sanction €7m deal with Bartra

The original estate, of 272 flats built in 1954 and now demolished, had been entirely social housing. Several councillors had suggested the new housing should be kept in council ownership through the use of cost rental or affordable rental models. File photograph: Tom Honan

The original estate, of 272 flats built in 1954 and now demolished, had been entirely social housing. Several councillors had suggested the new housing should be kept in council ownership through the use of cost rental or affordable rental models. File photograph: Tom Honan

 

The redevelopment of O’Devaney Gardens “will have to be abandoned” if councillors fail to approve a €7 million deal with Bartra Capital on Monday, Dublin City Council’s head of housing has warned.

Brendan Kenny said the deal would mean affordable homes available for sale at an average cost of €300,000 and that none would cost more than €320,000, the maximum qualifying price for the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland home-loan scheme.

Previously it had been suggested the O’Devaney Gardens affordable homes, close to the Phoenix Park in Dublin 7, would cost up to €420,000.

The deal with Bartra, the company behind a controversial co-living scheme in Dún Laoghaire, will result in the construction of 768 homes, 411 of which would be sold privately by the developer, 192 would be used for social housing and 165 would be sold to qualifying affordable housing purchasers.

In addition to a cash payment of €7 million, Bartra will be providing the social and affordable homes at a discount on market prices equivalent to about €32 million, said Mr Kenny.

The affordable buyers, who would be nominated by the council, would be able to buy one-bedroom apartments for €240,000-€250,000 or two-bedroom houses for €260,000-€300,000. Two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom houses would be the highest priced homes, costing from €300,000 to €320,000.

The prices had been set in line with January 1st, 2018, rates and would not change over the development period, “with the result that a home of similar size and typology will be the same price in the fifth year as the first year”, said Mr Kenny.

Bartra is planning a number of build-to-rent and co-living schemes in the city and recently received planning permission for a development in Dún Laoghaire which would mean communal kitchen facilities shared by up to 42 residents. Mr Kenny said there would be “no studio apartments, no shared accommodation, no student accommodation” in O’Devaney Gardens. There would also be “tenure neutrality” with “no design difference between the social, private or affordable homes”.

Council ownership

The original estate, of 272 flats built in 1954 and now demolished, had been entirely social housing. Several councillors had suggested the new housing should be kept in council ownership through the use of cost rental or affordable rental models.

However, Mr Kenny said when the council was seeking a developer “affordable purchase was identified as the only viable methodology, mainly as a result of the fact that both of the two rental models at that stage were quite some time away from reality”. Due to the rules of the public procurement process this “cannot at this stage be changed” he said.

The plan for O’Devaney Gardens was agreed by the previous council in 2017, but the Bartra deal needs the sanction of the new council on Monday to go ahead.

If it is not approved “then unfortunately the O’Devaney Gardens Project and the procurement process will have to be abandoned. This would mean going totally ‘back to the drawing board’ and we realistically would estimate that it could be another five years before we would reach the stage that the project is currently at,” he said.