Top Construction & Property Stories of the Week: Your 10at10 - Construction Network Ireland - Construction Network Ireland

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Published in Commercial Property on 10/02/2017

Top Construction & Property Stories of the Week: Your 10at10

#10at10 #newsroundup

CNI Editor reports

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 editor@constructionnetworkireland.com)

1.

Work has begun on one of the biggest building projects to commence in Ireland in more than a decade, with developer Hines breaking ground on a site it owns in Cherrywood, South Dublin.

Hines plans to build 4,000 homes on the site, and a further 4,000 are expected to be built in the surrounding area. The new area is expected to become home to 30,000 people once it is completed.

The first phase of the development will involve construction of roads, footpaths and cycle paths, as well as the planting of 3,000 oak and cherry trees.

Managing Director of Hines in Ireland, Brian Moran, confirmed that a new €875 million town centre is also planned, and will be submitted to planners in the coming months.

The new town centre will include cinema, retail outlets, restaurants, bars, a library and office space, along with 82 acres of park space.

2.

BAM Ireland has been awarded the contract for the new National Children’s Hospital, a contract which is now expected to rise to over €1 billion, €350 million over the original budget publicised by the government.

The developer was given notice of the contract last Friday, but the contract is subject to a 14 day cooling off period in case some of the under-bidders wish to object, as the new budget is more than 50% larger than was publicised at the time of the tender.

The cost of the build does not include IT or equipment costs, which are likely to add a further €200 million to the bill to the state.

The manner in which the site in St. James was chosen and the fact that the price seems to be one of the highest in Europe for a hospital of it’s size (an estimated €1.9 million per bed) has opened the government up for further criticism over the handling of this massive infrastructural project.

3.

Speaking of budget over-runs, the by now legendarily behind schedule Cork Event Centre on the old Beamish & Crawford site in Cork City looks set to cost a whopping €10 million more than planned.

The sod was turned on the site by Taoiseach Enda Kenny just under a year ago, and while there has been some demolition on the site, nothing has been built yet.

Minister for housing Simon Coveney confirmed to The Examiner that Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform Paschal Donohoe will make the final call, and apparently emphasised that “any funding request will be subjected to robust value-for-money appraisal”. If we didn’t laugh, we might cry. 

4.

Two Irish buildings are up for the Mies van der Rohe Award, the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture.

The magnificent Inchicore Model School which was designed by Donaghy + Dimond Architects, is one of the two shortlisted, along with the pavillion for Merrion Cricket Club, designed by Taka Architects.

5.

Shannon Airport has lodged a planning application with Clare County Council for a new hangar in Shannon Airport. While the airport has 50,700sq meters of space across nine hangars, the most of any Irish airport, all are now fully occupied.

The airport group recently appointed a design team to draw up plans and are seeking planning permission for a new hangar which will accommodate larger aircraft types, up to and including the Airbus A380.

If approved the group estimates that it will support up to 150 jobs during the construction phase and a further 100 jobs during operation.

6.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has extended the deadline for public submissions on Cork’s planned €150 million flood defences.

The scheme will be the largest in the history when it is finished and designed to protect over 3,000 properties in the event of a “once in a century” flood event (the kind that seem to be happening in Ireland every couple of years at this point).

The plan is facing considerable local opposition, however – a recent public consultation in UCC heard from protest group Save Cork City, which says that the plans would “turn the city into a storm drain”. 

The group has criticised the design of flood defence walls, saying they will damage the historic city quay walls and will reduce the aesthetic qualities of the historic City by the Lee.

7.

Merrion Capital is trying to raise a fund of €150 million to buy up distressed home loans in the Irish mortgage market where the mortgage holders may qualify for the government’s new mortgage-to-rent” scheme.

The plan is to raise a substantial fund and then purchase mortgages where the mortgage holder qualifies for social housing. The home owner would get to stay in the house and the government would pay some or all of the rent.

As the government would be paying the rent, investing in the fund would likely be of interest to conservative investors.

There is little doubt that there is a market for such a fund – the most recent Central Bank figures show that more than 34,500 owner-occupier mortgage holders are two years in arrears.

8.

Trial runs of the LUAS Cross City will begin in June, four years after works began on the scheme to link up the Red and Green LUAS lines, at a cost of €368 million.

The new line is an extension of the Luas Green Line and will run between St Stephen’s Green and Broombridge, where a new depot is being built.

A total of 13 stops are to be installed, eight of which will be in the city centre, where the laying of track has already been completed.

9.

The latest report by the Housing Agency makes for grim reading in one sense, although the demand for housing does mean work for those involved in the industry.

While the government agency says that the number of new homes built increased by 20% last year, with a reported 15,000 completions.

The contradictions of the Irish market are best highlighted with the news that there are 200,000 empty homes at the same time there are 92,000 on housing lists and 7,000 homeless.

The Housing Agency estimates that 81,000 new homes need to be built by 2020 in order to meet demand.

10.

Donald Trump’s plans will cause ‘monstrous damage’ according to one submission this week, although this complaint wasn’t heard in the 9th District Court in San Francisco.

As you may have guessed, the complaint in question relates to the wall in Doonbeg, which thankfully is not subject to The Donald’s profligate signing of executive orders.

More than 30 complaints have been lodged with the OPW about the proposed flood barrier along the beach in Doonbeg, with complainants including local surf club and the Irish Surf Association.

Most of the complaints focus on the impact on the local beaches – the plan would see 38,000 tonnes of rock plonked in front of the course at Doughmore beach.

About one third of the complainants come from Co. Clare, with none of the complaints coming from the locality of Doonbeg, although expecting locals to voice their complaint against the largest local employer – one who is notoriously sensitive to criticism and who also has access to nuclear codes – may be expecting too much.