Cairn to build 500 apartments on RTÉ's Montrose site

The property group has paid well over €100m for the privilege...

Cairn Homes has agreed to buy part of RTÉ's Donnybrook campus for €107.5 million.

This is far in excess of the €75m guide price set for the nearly nine-acre Montrose site by estate agents Savills.

Cairn, who had been named as the frontrunner in the bidding earlier this week, commented that the Dublin 4 real estate was a "prime site in a unique location which has strong potential for apartment development."

It is planning to build up to 500 apartments and nine houses, with the transaction expected to close next month.

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes (pictured below) said the broadcaster had to sell the land due to the vastly reduced commercial and licence fee income it is now operating on.

The funds will be invested in capital projects, including technology upgrades and key digital infrastructure.

Forbes stated:

"RTÉ is playing catch-up in an industry and market that is evolving rapidly, as Irish audiences embrace new technologies which are influencing how and when they consume content, including RTÉ content.

"The investment which has been enabled by this land sale, along with further restructuring of the organisation, will allow us to better serve the needs of our audiences."

Cairn chief executive Michael Stanley commented:

"Cairn is delighted to have acquired what we believe to be Dublin’s most attractive residential development site.

"At Cairn, we believe in building exceptional homes in great locations and the Montrose site will significantly add to the new homes we will bring to the market over the coming years."

Stanley had previously confirmed the London-listed firm's interest, making the case that Dublin needs more apartments to deal with an influx of post-Brexit business and accommodate those looking to downsize.

"Housing needs change and the market evolves" Stanley said at the time, calling his firm "one of the few companies that can build apartments today in Ireland and with the continuing employment in Dublin, I think they are badly needed."

RTÉ itself has reported that Dublin city councillor Chris Andrews is disappointed that the DCC or the Government expressed no interest in the land. 

The Sinn Féin politician said: "I have been a long term advocate of social and affordable units on this piece of land at RTÉ. I am bitterly disappointed that the Government has decided to let it slip through their fingers.

"The opportunity has been missed to provide the maximum social and affordable units here but now we will see the bare minimum while hard working families in the area worry about their housing prospects in the future."