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RTÉ’s Fair City still sitting pretty on prime residential patch in the heart of Dublin 4

Around the Block: ‘Residents’ of Carrigstown to continue filming on one-acre set at State broadcaster’s valuable Montrose campus for another five years at least

The “residents” of Carrigstown, the fictional suburban village in RTÉ’s longest-running soap opera, Fair City, may well be breathing a collective sigh of relief following the recent news of Kevin Bakhurst’s appointment as director general of the State broadcaster.

For had An Post’s chief executive and former TV3 Group boss David McRedmond prevailed in the selection process, few would be surprised if he were to take a long, hard look at relocating Fair City’s 1.01-acre set along with RTÉ’s entire operations from its prime patch in Dublin 4 to a new and less expensive location. Mr McRedmond has some form in this regard, having presided over An Post’s sale for €40 million in 2015 of its 2.3-acre Cardiff Lane sorting office site to developer Pat Crean’s Marlet Property Group and M&G Investments. He also has a keen understanding of the relative importance of location to a modern broadcaster from his time at TV3, which operates from Westgate Business Park in Ballymount next to the M50 motorway.

So what would he have made of the financially challenged RTÉ’s continued occupation of a whopping 23.48 acres at Montrose at a time when the site’s sale to a developer could realise hundreds of millions of euro notwithstanding the increasing costs associated with the delivery of housing? In 2017, Cairn Homes paid €107.5 million, or the equivalent of €12.44 million per acre — to secure an 8.64-acre portion of RTÉ’s original 32.12-acre campus. Were a sale of the remaining Montrose site to take place now and even match the price per acre paid by Cairn six years ago, RTÉ could reasonably expect to secure up to €292 million. Or could it?

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A cursory inspection of the recent planning application submitted last November to Dublin City Council by the State broadcaster in which it sought successfully to extend its planning permission for the operation of the Fair City filming set for a further five years includes a reference that would cool the appetite of any property developer with designs for high-end homes at Montrose.


It reads: “The application site is located within the RTÉ Campus which includes a protected structure Montrose House and proposed protected structure RTÉ Campus.” A subsequent examination of the more recently adopted Dublin City Development Plan 2022-2028 shows that the buildings designed by the late and much-celebrated architect Ronnie Tallon are indeed included on the Record of Protected Structures. With the television building, restaurant building, administration building, radio building and scene dock building all effectively preserved for posterity, it seems the State broadcaster and the denizens of Carrigstown will likely reside in Dublin 4 for some time yet.