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State transport company mulls over proposals to release sites for housing

Words: Roger Milne
Kent Station Cork

Irish state transport company CIÉ is planning to sell or redevelop prime sites in Dublin, Galway and Cork that could yield thousands of homes, offices and student accommodation.

Recently, the company signed an agreement with a private sector partner to redevelop a 2.4-hectare site at Kent Station, Cork, and is at an "advanced stage" of negotiations to sell a site near Dublin's Point Village with permission for more than 900 student bed spaces.

The group, which operates Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus, also expects to go to the market next year seeking partners to redevelop a 3.7-hectare site at Dublin’s Connolly Station.

Last year, CIÉ struck a deal with developer Johnny Ronan to develop Tara Street Station in Dublin, which could see a 22-storey office block erected.

Housing minister Simon Coveney is keen to use state-owned lands for housing, and has previously indicated that CIÉ lands should be developed.

In a separate but related development the government's ambition to deliver 25,000 homes a year by 2020 has received a potential boost with Bill McMorrow, CEO of US real estate giant Kennedy Wilson, revealing that his company is in the "very early stages" of considering whether to expand its existing business from renting homes to building homes to sell.