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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 21 January, 2019

Dublin City Council plotting €200 million funding for 'below market rent' apartment blocks

The proposed initial site for the Cost Rental Residential Project would be in Ballymun.

The proposed site in Ballymun would be next to the Rediscovery Centre
The proposed site in Ballymun would be next to the Rediscovery Centre
Image: Google Maps

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has issued a notice of its intention to launch a tender to the value of €200 million that will initially see the construction of “build to rent” apartments in Ballymun that will be provided on the private market at “below market rent” for a fixed period.

The scheme – referred to as the Cost Rental Residential Project – will see apartments built on 2.8 acres of council owned land on the main street of the Dublin 9 suburb. 

This initial notice is a “statement of potential frameworks or contracts during the next 12 months”, the council said.

Local councillor Noeleen Reilly gave the plans a “cautious welcome” but added “I hope we’re not setting ourselves up for a fall”. 

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin, meanwhile, said that it’s important to ensure that the rent is affordable for those who wish to avail of the scheme, and said a worry would be if private developers aimed to make a profit off the project. 

According to the latest report from, the average monthly rent in the capital is €1,936 – a rise of 13.4% on the previous year alone

Rents in Dublin are now almost €500 higher than the peak a decade ago.

Such a project for below market rent properties would be the latest bid from the council to try to provide accommodation to help deal with the housing crisis.

Last month, it issued a €1 billion tender for factory-built homes in an effort to reduce the social housing list

The issue of local authority action – or lack thereof according to Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy – also came to prominence last month.

Murphy said some councils should focus on putting a plan together to take action to solve the housing and homelessness crisis instead of criticising him, and also warned he would use emergency powers if inaction continued.

He also said, however, the vast majority of councils are doing good work, highlighting Dublin City Council’s tender for the large-scale modular home scheme.

The proposed site in this notice is situated to the east of Ballymun Main Street, to the north of the Rediscovery Centre and to the south of Domville House. 

proposed site ballymun Source: DCC

It’s also located within metres of the proposed MetroLink Ballymun Main Street stop.

“Dublin City Council will provide sites within its administrative area at below market value to economic operators for the delivery of private build to rent apartment schemes,” it said.

The economic operators will undertake to provide the built apartment units to rent on the private market at a below market rent for an agreed fixed period.

The development must conform to planning guidelines in the area. 

This includes that it must be a minimum of four storeys high with potential to rise to six. It must also provide “continuous street frontage” and a “sense of street enclosure to Main Street”. 

In response to a query from, the council said that while it is ultimately up to the tenders/submissions received from interested developers, it envisaged that there was potential for 300 units on this Ballymun site. 

Reilly said that it is “great to see some movement” on developing some of the vacant sites in the area given we’re in the midst of a housing crisis.

“The fact that this land has been advertised people interested in buying are going to want to know what affordable rental means for them,” she said. 

The onus is now on the Government to deliver a scheme that is workable for people.

Ó Broin said that it is important to make sure these units, when delivered, are “genuinely affordable”.

“They should be linked to the economic cost of building them, and the income of those applying,” he said. 

Even at 15% below market prices, Ó Broin said, that would mean this housing would be out of reach for many. 

He said: “The cost of rental should have no link to market rents whatsoever. There could bands of rent within the cost of rental depending on someone’s income. These things are meant to be available to people. If rent is set a certain level for those on a combined €75k a year say, it would exclude those on 55k or 60k.”

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Sean Murray

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