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Docklands: the challenges and the potential…, by Owen Reilly

The Sunday Independent, Sunday, February 21st 2016

“Throughout its history Dublin’s Docklands has been a bellwether for the national experience and today is no different: there is an apartment shortage in Docklands; it is hugely sought after as a place to live and work; it will see further positive change in the coming years.

I have lived in Grand Canal Dock for 11 years and have observed closely its transformation to a cosmopolitan city neighbourhood. While there are social challenges still, the 1,285 acre Docklands area is now home to some of the world’s most important financial and technology companies, and its diverse neighbourhoods north and south of the River Liffey attract increasing numbers of young professionals and families from all over the world who want to live in the city; while overseas buyers represented 36% of our market during 2015, 63% of the tenants with whom we dealt were from overseas. The physical development of the Docklands has recommenced and is clearly in evidence; the Central Bank’s new North Wall Quay office and AirBnB’s warehouse conversion on Hanover Quay will be completed shortly and their employees will add significantly to the Docklands community both north and south – as will the future employees of the many new offices now under development. Dublin City Council’s master plan for the area emphasises the improvement of the public realm and retail and leisure amenities.

The challenge for the Docklands now is: where is everyone going to live…

Dublin City Council’s master plan provides for 2,600 homes for the Grand Canal Dock and North Lotts areas. The Boland’s Quay and Capital Dock developments will transform two prominent locations and will include residential components and, while additional residential planning applications have been submitted in connection with local sites, they relate so far to hundreds of apartments only. In the risky world of apartment development, new guidelines that lower minimum sizes may motivate developers and, personally, I strongly hope that they will. On the rental market, the build-to-let sector is in its infancy; in Dublin’s Docklands however, where demand for city accommodation is at its strongest, it does represent a potential part-solution and should be encouraged. There are vast undeveloped tracts of Docklands and the market conditions may now exist to usher in a new era of purpose-built, professionally-managed accommodation facilities.

In whatever way it develops, with our clients, we look forward to more residential stock becoming available and to the next phase of Dublin’s Docklands.”

Owen Reilly is director of Owen Reilly estate agents

The Sunday Independent, February 21st 2016

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