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'Players Please': Locals highlight history of Dublin 8 factory as redevelopment looms

Plans for the Player Wills Factory in Dublin 8 include building 1,400 new apartments.

Capture Player Wills Factory, South Circular Road, Dublin 8 PlayersPlease / Instagram PlayersPlease / Instagram / Instagram

DUBLIN 8 LOCALS have launched a campaign to highlight the history and possible use of a soon-to-be-redeveloped site on South Circular Road. 

A local group has now set up a Facebook and Instagram page. ‘Players Please’ is a project aimed at highlighting the past, present and future possibilities for the old Player Wills Factory in Dublin 8. 

Having trawled through archives, locals plucked photographs dating back to the 1950s and 1960s and posted them online alongside images of the building’s current state – courtesy of Irish Photo Archive. 

PastedImage-21951 Players Please Instagram Players Please Instagram

(View image on Instagram here)

“People who live in the area, we all have a grá for the building,” said a spokesperson for the group. “It looks amazing, there’s not much like it left these days.”

“Given what it looks like on the inside, it just illustrates its potential to be so many other things than just demolished and apartments built in its place.”

The Player Wills site, which is listed on the council’s vacant sites register, adjoins the vacant Bailey Gibson industrial lands. Recently, there has been a push for affordable housing to be built on the site.

Up until December last year, its loans were held by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) but have since been repaid. 

The site is owned by Players Square Limited and, in late December, those loans were refinanced by American property company Hines, which is also behind the Central Bank redevelopment, meaning the site can now be redeveloped. 

Last month, Hines invited D8 locals to inspect their plans for the site at the old Players Factory which it intends to submit to An Bord Pleanála by the end of the year.

PastedImage-38702 Players Please Instagram Players Please Instagram

(View image on Instagram here)

Plans for the site include 1,400 apartments with new streets, parks and local amenities. With more than 100 homes planned for the site, a planning application can be sent straight to ABP.

The developers have said the homes on the site will be predominantly build-to-rent. 

Constructed in 1935 as a factory for Player Wills tobacco, the building remained in use until 2005. 

One local told that Hines could pass planning stages with little consideration for the needs of the community now and long term – not to mention the opportunity to create something genuinely thoughtful.

“We’re focusing on ‘Players Please’ but we’re concerned with the overall site. We would love to see something there that’s an attraction for the area,” the spokesperson said. 

“Something that benefits the community, good for tourists as well as housing.”

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