40 people to move into refurbished Dublin flat complexBy Conor Hunt
One of country's first ever purpose-built social housing flat complexes is set to become home again for around 40 people currently on the housing waiting list.
The Ellis Court flats were built in the 1880s by Dublin Corporation, part of the city's first foray into social housing.
The Victorian-era building on Benburb Street in Dublin has been lying vacant for nearly 20 years following a fire in 2005 and has recently been given a €9 million refurbishment.
The project, between Túath Housing and Dublin City Council, took three years to complete. It was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as adapting it for modern living, the architects were keen to retain the building's history.
"This is a really significant project for Túath and shows our innovation, trying to regenerate inner city centres," said Marie McNamara, Development Manager with Túath Housing.
"It follows the Housing For All strategy of making greener construction by using the buildings that are in place to restore where possible.
"It was built in the 1880s as part of the first social housing projects in the country so it was important to retain that history. It was a slower process than a new build."
The complex now consists of 19 apartments and three townhouses.
Michelle Robinson, senior executive officer with Dublin City Council, said the restoration is significant as it will take people off the housing waiting list.
"It's a prime city centre location. It's right beside the Luas tracks, it's good for city centre living and to revitalise this area," she said.
"It's really important that it's not all commercial. It's bringing families back living in the city centre ... We got value for money for the project ... it was 100% funded from the state.
"It forms part of Dublin City Council's housing delivery action plan and delivers 22 social housing units. It's a key part of our pipeline, working with Approved Housing Bodies, but it also restores a building that hasn't been in use, which is in the city centre.
"It's very urban living and it's a very sympathetic restoration of the scheme."
Ms Robinson said many of the original features have been retained, such as granite window sills and sash windows.
She said the spacing and size of the units are "very sympathetic to the original building", but it has been restored to the standards that are required for apartment living.
The 40 or so new residents will move in over the coming weeks.