The Red Line Luas looks like it is unleashing the development potential of industrial properties and their conversion to high density apartment complexes in Tallaght – and developers are not waiting for the local county council to update its area plan for the lands around Tallaght town centre.
At least three developers, including Richard Barrett’s Bartra and Patrick Crean’s Marlet, are targeting the area north of Tallaght town centre for change of use from industrial to residential development. In all, the area is served by four Luas stops.
Earlier this year, Marlet applied to An Bord Pleanála for fast-track planning permission for a new development of 438 apartments and 403 student accommodation bed spaces on a site at the junction of Belgard Square North and Belgard Road.
Marlet is understood to have paid around €11 million for some eight acres of the 17.8-acre site which it has assembled. Part of it had been the former Cuisine de France bakery site which developer Bernard McNamara had at one time earmarked for a major redevelopment in the area.
Marlet’s scheme, branded as Belgard Gardens, will be undertaken in two phases with the second phase expected to comprise about 1,100 residential units in 13 residential blocks ranging in height from four to eight storeys but also including a 13 storey landmark building.
It will also include mixed retail, food and beverage outlets, tenant residential amenities and a multi-purpose civic centre.
The proposal would incorporate a number of new streets, a civic plaza and a park.
The development is conveniently located about five minutes’ walk from Tallaght Luas station and less than 10 minutes from The Square shopping centre.
Also within Tallaght town centre, but at the northern side of Cookstown Industrial Estate, Richard Barrett’s Bartra has applied for fast-track planning permission for a residential redevelopment of industrial property.
Under the name of Bartra Property (Cookstown) Ltd, it has asked Bord Pleanála for permission to develop 150 build-to-rent units and 222 shared bed spaces at Unit 21, First Avenue, Cookstown Industrial Estate.
As reported recently in the Sunday Independent, the build-to-rent units will be built in five to six storey blocks while the 222 bed spaces will be designed as shared living dwellings, comprising bedrooms in six to eight storey blocks with the residents of these units sharing kitchens and living areas.
This development will include social housing as well as retail and café space.
Last month another developer, Pyrmont Property Developments Limited, also applied to An Bord Pleanála for fast-track permission for a strategic housing development including 196 build-to-rent apartments at Units 5A-C Second Avenue, a site on the corner of Cookstown Industrial Estate and Cookstown Way.
While that is towards the centre of the industrial estate, it is also fairly close to Tallaght Hospital.
The units will include 45 studio units, 48 one-bed units and 103 two-bed units in four blocks which will range in height from six to nine storeys.
This project will also include a 248 sq m (2,669 sq ft) commercial unit, a 111 sq m (1,195 sq ft) office unit, a crèche, gym, six communal amenity spaces and a 25 sq m (269 sq ft) communal hot desk room.
To make way for the new buildings, the project will involve demolition of the existing 2,590 sq m (27,878 sq ft) industrial building.
If successful, the new fast-track application would allow the developer to increase the number of units on the site from the 126 for which it received permission last August.
The extra units will be accommodated by increasing the heights from the five storeys permitted previously to Pyrmont.
Such increased heights may have become more feasible following the decision of the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, to allow much taller housing developments in order to increase the supply of new homes.
Pyrmont is reported to be owned by Joseph and Laura Costello who have operated a business in the industrial estate.
Meanwhile, IRES Reit is to increase by 18 units the number of apartments at nearby Tallaght Cross West, Belgard Square West and Cookstown Way by revamping 4,500 sq m (48,437 sq ft) of commercial space in this development which had previously been designated for gym, crèche and management offices.
It has also received planning permission to convert further commercial space to medical use.
Kevin McHugh, of estate agents Harvey, which specialises in the sale and letting of industrial and warehouse property, says some Cookstown industrial units which have development potential because they are close to the Luas stations and other facilities have been achieving premium prices compared to those achieved for industrial use. “But some of those which are located towards the centre of the estate are still valued on the basis of their industrial usage,” he adds.
Companies are continuing to buy units in the industrial estate for business use. He instances Unit 77 Cookstown Industrial Estate which was bought last year by an owner occupier for its €650,000 asking price.
The detached industrial unit with offices extended to a combined 1,279 sq m (13,767sq ft) on a self-contained 0.67 acre site.
Harvey is currently quoting €450,000 for Unit 59 Cookstown Industrial Estate off Fourth Avenue, which is a warehouse unit that extends to 429 sq m (4,618 sq ft).
Because it is not detached and is of relatively small size, it seems unlikely to provide a development site of itself.
Just before the end of the last boom, South Dublin County Council sought to encourage the redevelopment of the industrial estate by including it in the Tallaght Town Centre Local Area Plan.
It allowed mixed uses and up to 100pc residential.
While that LAP has expired, nevertheless, on the basis of the regeneration zoning, developers could be optimistic about converting industrial units to high density residential.
However, considering the increased caution about the risks of over supply of retail space, it looks like developers will be including less retail than was envisaged by the council in its LAP.