Bartra to redraw plans for Dublin co-living projects

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 15 July 2019

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Ireland: Developer Bartra Capital Property Group will cut up to 20 beds from a proposed co-living development in Dun Laoghaire to meet guidelines proposed by An Bord Pleanala in relation to a similar project in west Dublin.

An Bord Pleanala last month refused Bartra’s plans to develop 222 co-living spaces and 160 apartments in three blocks on the former Cookstown industrial estate in Tallaght. The proposal was refused pending the drawing of a local area plan by South Dublin county council.

The planning board said the co-living element “had a notable shortfall in the quantitative and qualitative provisions of sufficient communal facilities”. Critically, the authority gave an indication of what it deemed to be sufficient.

Bartra, a pioneer of co-living in Ireland, has attracted criticism for its plans to develop a 208-bed co-living block on a former school on Eblana Avenue in Dun Laoghaire. The original plans, which are due to be adjudicated upon within the next three weeks, included a proposal for one kitchen per 40 residents.

Following the An Bord Pleanala guides on Tallaght, there will be three or four smaller kitchen and communal areas per floor, while the Dun Laoghaire plans, almost certain to be rejected at first turn, will be redrawn on this basis.

Mike Flannery, chief executive of Bartra, said co-living would serve a neglected and under-pressure part of the Irish market, namely the single occupier. “It is very difficult for a single person to compete with a couple for a one-bed apartment,” he said.

Under government guidelines, co-living is restricted to areas close to the city centre, acute hospitals or high concentrations of employment. It targets areas where private rental demand, and single dwellers in particular, are prevalent.

Bartra is developing a total of four co-living projects under its Niche Living brand. As well as Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght, it has withdrawn a planning application for a development at Ardee Road in Rathmines to take account of the planning board observations on Cookstown. A fourth development is planned for close to Blanchardstown hospital.

Flannery, the developments are more akin to a long-stay aparthotel than an apartment block. Communal areas are cleaned by full-time staff, and there is a gym, home cinema and entertaining area with separate kitchen. While the single unit size, at 16.5 square metres, has been a focus of criticism, it is considerably larger than the standard bedroom size for a one-bedroom apartment. Flannery said Bartra was backing the concept because there would be “a strong and sustainable demand for it”.

 

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