Saturday 22 October 2016

CIE's massive redevelopment plan could see 22-storey high rises built

An overview of the Connolly station site in Dublin, which has been earmarked for redevopment by Irish Rail
An overview of the Connolly station site in Dublin, which has been earmarked for redevopment by Irish Rail

CIE is planning to redevelop key sites in Dublin city which could allow for high-rise developments of up to 22 storeys on the quays.

The company is planning to team up with the private sector to develop sites at Tara Street and Connolly stations, which would include commercial and residential development.

And it is talking to NAMA about joining a site it owns in the Docklands with one held by the State bad bank with a view to selling it for student accommodation later this year.

The move comes following the sale of land and other real estate assets totalling €121m in recent years as the cash-strapped company attempted to reduce deficits.

Last year, its railway arm Iarnrod Eireann recorded its first growth in passenger numbers since 2007 but ran a loss of €2.2m, a substantial improvement on 2013 when losses ran to €16.4m.

However, it has warned that the "underlying financial picture" within the company remains "extremely challenging".

A spokesman said it was hoped to reach agreement with the private sector whereby an annual payment, or a percentage of the market rent, would be paid over by the developer in return for having use of the land.

"The view is to develop agreements to produce income streams which would make ongoing contributions to fund public transport," he said.

However, he declined to comment on what revenues were expected.

"This will obviously be dictated by the market but we are hoping to benefit from strengthened market conditions," he said.

The priority projects are Tara Street and Connolly Station in Dublin, both of which have ten-year planning permissions in place for major developments including an 11-storey tower at Tara.

However, Dublin City Council has indicated that a landmark building of up to 22 storeys could be approved at this location.

The process to secure a partner is already underway for the Tara Street site, and will begin in the autumn for Connolly, where permission for 13 buildings is already in place to include offices, residential and a hotel.

The company is planning to undertake a public tender before the end of the year seeking development partners.

Expressions of interest for a mixed-use retail and residential development at Kent Station in Cork will also be sought from September, while it is planned to develop Ceannt Station in Galway on a phased basis.

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