Some of the most noteworthy construction stories from the last week, as compiled by the team at Construction Network Ireland.
(Have a story you think should be covered? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
The long-expected sale by RTE of land at it’s Dublin 4 headquarters, Montrose, is finally going ahead after more than a decade of speculation, with the national broadcaster confirming on Wednesday that it would proceed with the sale of 8.64 acres of land for development, with a whopping €75 million price-tag.
Despite the asking amount, the land is expected to draw significant interest as the asking price for the estimated 20 luxury houses and 500 apartments to be built on the site will be very significant.
It was believed that RTE would sell a site up to twice the size, but after years of delay in making the controversial decision, the broadcaster found itself in the happy position that the price of land has increased significantly.
The decision to sell off the land is clearly not an easy decision for RTE to make – it has been based at the site since 1961 and the sale will reduce the footprint of the broadcaster significantly – but the announcement came on the same day that RTE confirmed it was to seek up to 250 voluntary redundancies.
Primary healthcare Properties (PHP), a listed UK real estate investment trust (REIT) has confirmed that it is to build a new primary healthcare centre in Carrigaline, Co Cork at a total cost of €7.3 million, the company’s second investment in Ireland.
It is believed that up to 75 per cent of the 2,900 square metre property is already rented to the HSE on a 25 year contract, with the balance of the rent coming from local healthcare professionals.
The company made its first investment in Ireland in October 2016 with a €6.7 million investment in a Primary Healthcare Centre in Tipperary. PHP is a significant fund, with an international portfolio of 299 assets which is valued at over £1.2 billion and a contracted rent roll of £68.8 million.
The Economoic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) expects house-building to reach 18,500 units in Ireland in 2017 and to rise to as much as 25,000 in 2018, but warns that if house production goes much higher than this, it risks overheating the economy.
The government funded think-tank’s quarterly report, the first of 2017, also predicted that GDP will rise by 3.8pc this year, up from its previous forecast of 3.5pc.
New home builds reached a seven year high in the year to January, according to somewhat questionable figures produced by the Department of Housing. The departments figures are based on ESB connections, which doesn’t measure when houses are built, but when they connect to the electricity network.
The figures claim to show that 1,244 units were completed in January, an increase of 35 per cent on the previous year, which gives an annual output of 15,256 units in the year to the end of January.
While the figures are almost certainly an overstatement (and one which the Department insists on making time and again) annual commencements still point to a strong year, with 13,334 builds commenced in the year to the end of January 2017, which is an increase of 44 per cent on the previous year.
There’s wind in them there hills… Energia’s mammoth €145 million Donegal windfarm at Meenadreen, Co. Donegal, has begun production, with an output of 95 MW. In layman’s terms this means that the farm can provide enough energy to power 50,000 homes.
Wind is clearly a valuable commodity – Energia has invested €500 million in the Irish wind-farm market so far and profits rose by more than 30 per cent to €22.2 million at the company in the year to the end of March 2016, its most recently reported accounts.
The latest, with many yet to come… UK-based company Quintessential is to commence work shortly on a new distillery on Mill St in Dublin City Centre, which will create 50 jobs during the construction phase, expected to last 12 months, and 19 when the distillery is open.
Quintessential is building the the €15m Dublin Liberties Distillery and visitor centre to create product for its spirit brands, including The Dubliner and The Dublin Liberties which are already sold in 30 markets according to the company.
The trade union backed Nevin Institute has proposed a new semi-state company to become the main supplier of rental housing in the country.
The Nevin Institute believes the new company should borrow money at low rates and build up to 10,000 properties per year to ease rental inflation and supply some social housing.
While unlikely to happen, and much better for an initiative like this to start during a prolonged recession and not after, it is an idea that has its merits.
The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) is to build a solar farm to supply up to 50 per cent of the power to a reservoir which provides the airport with 500 million litres of water to the airport per year.
Farm may be somewhat of an over stretch however – the solar space will cover approximately 650 square meters. More like a ‘solar smallholding’ then.
The new Bolands Quay development is believed to generate 500 construction jobs when it gets under way. BAM has been selected as the main contractor on the 1.7 acre site.
The site will feature apartments, offices and retail units. When it is completed in 2018 and will have capacity for approximately 2,500 workers.
Sometimes stories come along which deserve their place in this section of our construction news roundup, but which leave us at a loss where to start. This is one such story.
This week we learned that the HSE has named Spanish construction company OHL as the preferred bidder for the €125m contract to build the new National Forensics Hospital in North Dublin.
OHL could be said to be very unfortunate – it has found itself or its employees under investigation in more than one market in which it or its subsidiaries operate over the years, only one of which seems to have been covered by Irish news media this week.
The mind boggles – this is undoubtedly a story that has a long way to run.