Work finally begins on O'Devaney Gardens - after 10 years of delays
A decade after plans for the redevelopment of O'Devaney Gardens were scrapped, the first sod has finally been turned on the site.
Work on the first phase of new homes at the north Dublin complex got under way yesterday, with a promise from Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy that they will be affordable to locals.
The development is among the first under the Government's Land Initiative, which allows developers to build on council sites.
Under the deal, they must provide a mix of 50pc private units, 30pc social and 20pc affordable.
The first phase consists of 56 homes, being built by Careys Construction at a cost of €20m.
That will leave about 120 more social homes to be built, along with more than 290 private homes and 117 affordable units, which will be either sold or rented to lower income workers who meet eligibility criteria.
The site will ultimately deliver close to 600 homes.
Five developers have expressed interest in building 530 homes, at an expected cost of €125.5m. A final agreement is expected by the end of the year, with construction of the new estate due for completion within four years.
The social and affordable units are to be "peppered" throughout the development and "not confined to single blocks and/or area", the council said.
Mr Murphy said there are "guarantees" now for local people that a new community will be built.
The site, 3km from O'Connell Street, was earmarked for redevelopment in 2008 but fell victim to the economic crash.
At that stage the work was to be carried out under a public-private partnership involving Dublin City Council and developer Bernard McNamara.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said yesterday that the collapse of that project "heralded a really, really dark period for the community".
However, he said there would be a "rejuvenated" effort to deliver "new and better homes".
"There is a commitment to the community that we are going to see affordable homes for people to move back in," said Mr Murphy. "People from every walk of life, every background, coming and living together in a key part of our city."
The O'Devaney Gardens project is one of three similar sites that it is hoped will deliver a total of 1,600 homes.
The others are at St Michael's Estate in Inchicore and Oscar Traynor Road, Coolock.
O'Devaney Gardens was originally developed as a social housing scheme in 1954.
The first phase of the redevelopment will consist of 22 three-bed houses, 22 two-bed apartments, six three-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments.