Social homes on council land to cost €500,000 each to build

Work on 54 homes at St Teresa’s Gardens in Dublin’s inner city to start next month

From left, Minister of State for Housing Damien English, Kristine Taylor, St Teresa’s Gardens resident, and Stephen Rourke,  chairman of St Teresa’s Gardens Regeneration Board. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

From left, Minister of State for Housing Damien English, Kristine Taylor, St Teresa’s Gardens resident, and Stephen Rourke, chairman of St Teresa’s Gardens Regeneration Board. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

The long-awaited construction of 54 social homes at St Teresa’s Gardens in Dublin’s southwest inner city is projected to cost €26.5 million, or almost €500,000 per home.

Dublin City Council in April 2013 announced plans to demolish 10 of the 12 flat blocks in the dilapidated 1950s complex, with a view to refurbishing two blocks to create 52 modern apartments, and building 50 more houses and apartments.

The development, which was to be the first phase in the construction of more than 500 homes, was expected to cost €15 million, of which €4-€6 million was to be spent on the demolition and refurbishment work.

Demolition began in February 2015 and the refurbishment of the two retained blocks was completed by the end of the year. Construction of the new homes had been due to start in November 2015.

In September 2016 the council said it expected to issue tenders to build the 50 homes by the end of the year. However, the following month hazardous waste, linked to a former fireworks factory on the site, was discovered. The project had to be postponed until the soil was decontaminated at an estimated cost of €500,000. In May 2017 the council said it expected construction of the new homes to start later that year.

Tender process

Speaking at a St Teresa’s Gardens regeneration board event on Thursday, Minister of State for Housing Damien English said he had intended to announce the start date for the construction, and the company that would be building the homes, but was unable to do so because the tender process had not been fully finalised.

However, he said an additional four homes would be built, bringing the total to 54 – eight one-bedroom, eight two-bedroom and 28 three-bedroom apartments and a terrace of 10 two-bedroom houses. The estimated cost, including the soil decontamination, was €26.5 million.

The contractual matters were close to completion and there was “no reason why we can’t be starting on site in October”, Mr English said. “We did try to have it [the announcement] done for today, but it just didn’t happen.”

The Government’s Rebuilding Ireland programme had put it on a strong footing to ensure housing was delivered for the residents of St Teresa’s Gardens, he said. “We are on a new road now, and new method of doing business, and a new way of getting things done.”

The council hopes to develop an “urban quarter” of 1,100 homes in the area, half of which would be at St Teresa’s Gardens, with the remainder on the Nama-controlled Player Wills and Bailey Gibson sites.