Diageo paves way for new hip district
Guinness plan will ignite regeneration of Liberties as a new cultural quarter and will include the transformation of old vat houses, cooperages and brew houses – the fabric of which will only enhance the area’s cultural diversity
The announcement by Diageo of the development of land at its landmark St James’s Gate site heralds one of the largest regeneration projects of the city in years. Prior to the recession Diageo had planned to sell part of the 10 acres, and the area has now been earmarked for a mixture of residential and commercial use.
A concentric series of circles spreading from O’Connell Street would reveal this area as the next logical location for comprehensive regeneration. Smithfield, Dublin Docklands and Stoneybatter, for instance, have all been transformed from areas in decline in the last century to hipster city locations, and property prices in these areas reflect this.
Set within the Liberties, St James’s Gate is one of the city’s most dynamic and historic districts and Fáilte Ireland has promoted the area via the Dubline project.
St James’s Gate was previously an archway marking an old entrance to the city, and St James’s Church is still a stopping point on the Camino pilgrim trail.
The rich legacy of ornate buildings nearby includes Dublin’s oldest church, St Nicholas de Myra – with Harry Clarke stained-glass windows; St Audoens, with its noted pipe organ, and St Patrick’s Tower at Roes Distillery, which was the largest smock windmill in Europe.
The Diageo project dovetails well with the National Planning Framework, a draft of which was published last week. The Ireland 2040 Our Plan document envisions an extra population of 250,000 for Dublin and its suburbs – where 50 per cent of development must go on infill sites within the urban centre.
Considering the vast area of vacant land owned by Guinness, it would appear this project will fall within the Smart Urban Development Fund outlined in the document.
Gate Theatre publicist Christine Monk, an Australian, has lived in the area since 2005 and says “the smell of hops is part of life here, we have found a huge community spirit and feel really secure – I can be anywhere in town within a 20-minute walk”.
Eunan Doherty of DNG cites a ¤100,000 price differential between properties in this location and others a half a mile out of the city, adding: “As an investor I would be excited by the potential for capital appreciation of any property I owned in this area, and as a homeowner I would be excited by the constant improvements being made to the area.”
For anyone considering buying in the area, the City Living Initiative administered by Dublin County Council – the aim of which is to encourage people to live in historic districts – offers tax incentives for both owner-occupiers and developers for the renovation of properties which pre-date 1915. Details are available on dublincity.ie
What is exciting about the regeneration of this area, in addition to the wealth of historical interest, are the type of properties which will be transformed, including old vat houses, cooperages and brew houses – the fabric of which will only add to the area’s cultural diversity.
‘‘ The project dovetails well with the National Planning Framework
St James’s Gate in the Liberties is one of the city’s most dynamic and historic districts