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 Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Front Page - Dublin 8 ¤ 295,000

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

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