The property goldmine may have died and the general economy continues to be in a moribund state but some of the country's biggest developers are pushing ahead with rezoning plans in north Dublin's Fingal as they seek to develop new opportunities.
The market reality, however, cannot be ignored and it's illustrative that RQB Malahide, a private equity vehicle which is in receivership, is one of the companies which made a submission. It is asking for the residential cap on its land, set at 10 units per hectare, to be removed in order to facilitate "the proper and sustainable development of the area". RQB Malahide says "there is no need (or likely market demand) for additional low-density development" there and failing to omit the cap would "have negative consequences for the development of the site".
RQB, which syndicated property investments to private clients, was set up by developer Paddy Kelly and corporate financier Niall McFadden and is itself being wound up.
"It's interesting that the bulk of the submissions related to rezoning proposals. You can't turn on a radio without hearing that developers are pauperised but five to one of the submissions were saying to rezone land which suggests lessons haven't been learned," said Socialist Party councillor Clare Daly. "The infrastructure isn't there to support it."
Meanwhile, Michael Cotter's Park Development made a submission in relation to 17 acres it owns at Cloghran Stud Farm near Dublin Airport, where it is planning a car park. The lands are currently zoned for general industry but Park wants them rezoned for "science and technology-based employment"
Park says it has been trying to draw up a local area plan for these lands and the adjoining area, which totals 96 acres, in conjunction with local landowners. "However, progressing the plan has proved difficult... There are consequently real difficulties in finalising the local area plan. Our clients do not want to see a similar situation arise in relation to the development of these lands after the 2011 Development Plan is adopted, whereby the Local Area Plan cannot be progressed, owing to failure of the landowners to co-operate," a submission on behalf of Park states.
Together with Ulster Bank and Hugh Curran, Park made a separate submission in relation to the 4.5 acres surrounding the Coachman's Inn on the Old Swords Road. Planning has been granted for a 100-bedroom hotel and the landowners want the site rezoned to allow residential, office and retail development on the site.
Garbo Developments, in which sunglass-wearing developer Donal Caulfield is involved, wants to double the density of development allowed on its nearly 67.5 acres of land at Hollywoodrath near Dublin County Golf Course. Its Shepton Holdings vehicle meanwhile has welcomed plans to rezone an additional 29.4 acres owned by it in the same area as "metro economic corridor" (MEC) from "science and technology" and it requests support for retail and taller buildings on parts of the site. The metro economic corridor lands will be allowed residential development and have higher densities.
Industrial property specialist Ken Rohan's Rohan Holdings wants 30 acres of land at Coldwinters in north Finglas rezoned from agriculture to general industrial while he also wants land at the company's Dublin Airport Logistics Park rezoned from warehouse and distribution to general industry as some of it falls within the area surrounding the proposed Metro West, where development will be subject to additional levies. It says it has 100 acres of undeveloped land at the park, which would equate to nearly €22m in normal development levies, just under €10m in Metro West levies and €3.5m annually in rates.
Pat Doherty's Harcourt Developments, which owns acres of land next to the National Car Test Centre in Ballymun, wants its nine acres of land rezoned to 'MEC' instead of the warehouse and distribution use at present.
Mulryan's Sherman Oaks, which he owns with Menolly's Seamus Ross, raised concerns about a new road planned for Portmarnock, where it owns more than 40 acres. The company lost more than €3.6m for the year ended 31 March 2008, when its assets stood at just under €88m, of which development properties were worth just under €31m.
Its Helsingor vehicle, meanwhile, is seeking "an increase in the number of residential units" at its land in Baldoyle and says high-rise buildings should be encouraged there.
Cosgrave Developments, meanwhile, wants density limitations on 16 acres of land it owns at Thormanby Road in Howth removed or increased. There is currently planning for 19 houses on the site.
Elsewhere, in Blanchardstown, it says the Verona FC Grounds may no longer be needed under a plan provided for the sharing of pitches by the local football clubs. That would free up the land for development and it could be rezoned major town centre, with Cosgrave saying it could accommodate the 50,000sq m of additional retail envisaged for the area.
Green Property, which owns Blanchardstown Town Centre, wants to be allowed develop more bulky goods warehouses and convenience goods stores. It also wants the Mulhuddart interchange upgraded.
Further along the M50, the Bailey brothers, who are major north Dublin landholders, want to develop up to 2,000 residential units on a 130-acre site they own on the opposite side of the M50 to their Charlestown Shopping Centre in Finglas and want the land rezoned to cater for that. They also want to develop 215 acres of land they own at Lissenhall near Swords, where a Metro North stop is planned. They say the land could hold more than 3,500 residential units, a 20,000sq m district centre and a 1,500sq m neighbourhood centre. There could also be industrial and office development. They also own land across the motorway from The Pavilions shopping centre in Swords where they are planning a major retail and residential scheme and made a submission in that regard.
Also in Swords, Sean and Brian McKeon's MKN Properties wants to develop more than 20 acres of land remaining in its ownership at Rathingle in Swords, next to a major residential development that has already been built out by the company. About 230 residential units are planned for part of that land and the developer wants a further 2.5 acres rezoned for residential development. It is also seeking to have almost 15 acres beside Forrest Road in the same area rezoned from green-belt to residential, saying Metro North will justify the change.
Companies linked to Treasury Holdings want additional sections of the 183-acre M1 Business & Logistics Park at Courtlough and the 15 acres of land in Kinsealy zoned for development. The company, which is owned by Johnny Ronan and Richard Barrett, also wants land it owns on the Head of Howth rezoned for residential development and to have part of Dunsoghly Castle west of Dublin airport rezoned from green belt to airport and office uses.
"It is acknowledged that any development of the lands surrounding the castle would have to be done in such a way as to minimise any potential negative impacts," the submission states.
At Milverton near Skerries, Treasury wants to be allowed build additional residential units than is currently provided for at the golf course and hotel scheme it plans to develop there. "The additional lands would further serve in underpinning the viability of the project," it said.
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