St Patrick’s Athletic to unveil plan for a new 12,000 seater stadium
Plan would encompass a substantial retail element plus 350 car parking spaces
The proposed Richmond Arena in Inchicore.
St Patrick’s Athletic have revived proposals to build a new stadium on the site of the former St Michael’s Estate. Club owner Garrett Kelleher has assembled a consortium intended to construct the ground as part of a much wider development that Dublin City Council (DCC) is expected to seek a partner for over the coming months.
Under the plan, which is expected to be formally announced by the club on Wednesday morning, St Patrick’s Athletic would at least notionally front up a group that would include Kelleher himself, Dublin based engineering and project management firm FESP International and Swiss based engineering firm HRS International.
The hope is build a 12,000 seat stadium, all covered, that would include a substantial retail element and 350 car parking spaces. The plan is to primarily cover the cost of the new ground through the retail element although the consortium is planning to bid for the entirety of what it anticipates being a contract for a far wider development potentially to include housing and civic amenities.
Such a development, without the stadium, had been planned for the site, which sits just off Emmet Road, under a previous partnership with the developer Bernard McNamara but this collapsed around the time of the wider economic crash. Prior to that, St Patrick’s Athletic had sought to have a stadium included in the scheme while it was still at the planning stage.
The new project is being overseen by former secretary general at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Tom O’Mahony who retired from that post in late 2015 and last year became president of St Patrick’s Athletic, a club he says he has long supported.
“The stadium we are proposing here will not be the subject of any application for Government grants,” says O’Mahony.
“It would be funded by the rest of the development, mainly the retail. Its working title is The Richmond Arena and once we got through planning, we believe it could be delivered within two years.”
Even the most optimistic projection would have that as still being some way off at this stage with DCC yet to even confirm that it is to embark on the sort of tendering process envisaged.
But it is understood that it has been weighing up the best way to develop a substantial site that is close to the Luas and beside the redeveloped Richmond Barracks in an area that has long been a target for rejuvenation.
The club already has a design for the stadium which would, in effect, sit on top of the retail facilities, something that is not uncommon on the continent, and O’Mahony suggests that the HRS’s director of projects, acquisition and development, David Mizrahi, is already familiar with both the delivery of similar stadiums and Dublin, having previously worked here on a couple of major infrastructure projects.
“There’s a long way to go, the council has not made any announcement on this yet and when it does it will have to carefully evaluate every proposal. If it decides after that that another offers better value then so be it but we are confident that we will be offering will be very attractive,” says O’Mahony, who says he cannot put a value on the proposal for commercial reasons.
St Patrick’s Athletic’s current home, Richmond Park, is not part of the deal and it is envisaged that it would ultimately serve primarily as a site for the building of homes separate to any the council might propose although O’Mahony is at pains to point out there are no plans at this stage to have the ground rezoned.