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US developer Hines plans to build 12 apartment blocks on the site. Hines/
holy cross college

Controversial development of 1,600 rental units in Drumcondra granted approval

The development has been the focus of significant public opposition, including from Dublin City Council.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF nearly 1,600 build-to-rent apartments on the grounds of the former Holy Cross seminary in Drumcondra, Dublin, has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

US property group Hines plans to build 12 apartment blocks up to 18 storeys high on the site on Clonliffe Road, close to Croke Park.

The proposal has been the focus of significant public opposition. Dublin City Council described the scheme as “alarming” and “unbalanced” due to the high proportion of one-bed apartments.

The ‘Stop Holy Cross College’ campaign group say the scheme will create profits for overseas institutional investors at the expense of local residents.

“The return of absentee landlords is not a solution. It is a reversal of 100 years of social progress,” the group says.

Hines went directly to An Bord Pleanála with the application as a Strategic Housing Development. This process is due to be discontinued next year.

A five-storey extension to the old seminary building, which will be converted to apartments, is among the 12 planned buildings. 

There will also be nine buildings between four and eight storeys tall, one 13-storey building and one 18-storey block.

The US developer proposed that 1,614 apartments would be built on the site, of which 70% will be one-bedroom units.

In granting permission for the development, the planning board ordered one block to be reduced in width by 18 metres. This resulted in the reduction of the overall number of apartments by 22 to 1,592.

In its decision, the board acknowledged the height and density breached the city development plan.

However, it pointed to ministerial guidelines that permitted bigger developments concentrated in urban areas.

The board stipulated that the scheme could not be used for short term lets. It added that ownership of the development will remain with one institution for a minimum of 15 years.

“Subject to compliance with the conditions…the proposed development would constitute an acceptable residential density in this inner suburban location,” An Bord Pleanála said.

The college has not functioned as a seminary since the year 2000. The archdiocese of Dublin sold the lands to the GAA two years ago. The GAA subsequently sold a portion of the land to Hines.

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