RTE transfer to IGB site would save build costsBy Donal Buckley Commercial Property Editor
Wednesday December 01 2010
Taxpayers could save up to €300m if the state broadcaster were to build its new headquarters and hi-tech studios at the Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend, Dublin 4.
By locating at the pivotal waterfront site on Dublin Bay, RTE would also help to attract other developers and businesses not alone to the 24-acre IGB site but also to the adjoining 12- acre site owned by Liam Carroll, and the price paid by such developers could help NAMA and the beleaguered taxpayers to recover some of the funds which the landowners owe the State's banks.
The move could also act as a potent phoenix-like symbol for Ireland's ability to rise from the ashes of a burned out economy.
Experts believe that RTE's current 31-acre Montrose site would appeal to residential developers who would pay between ?3m and ?5m per acre even in the current climate because the site adjoins one of Dublin's most sought-after residential areas -- Ailesbury Road.
At such site values RTE could generate up to ?155m from the sale and that would be ?100m more than the ?50m valuation placed on the IGB site.
The IGB greenfield site would allow RTE to slash the ?350m it estimates it will cost to build its new scheme, Project 2025. Because RTE intends to phase building work over 10 years on the current site, it will cost more to develop. An expert said: "One of the big costs will arise because so many features will need to be moved twice including very delicate and highly technical recording and broadcasting technology."
Despite securing Bord Pleanla approval for the project RTE has yet to decide on a start date. It has also ruled out moving to to the city's outskirts. "RTÉ has become an integral part of the Dublin South East community. We are currently one of the area's largest employers with over 1,800 employees on site and many of us... also live in this constituency," it says.
But the IGB site also has the advantage of being in the constituency.
- Donal Buckley Commercial Property Editor
I think this is an absolutely great idea; if Luas were extended from the Point Depot and across the river through Ringsend then the site would be plugged in to public transport. In terms of funding it if the model of Spencer Dock (i.e. A JV with a large national or International developer) were looked at and both sites put into it where a commercial facility were delivered and residential development at Montrose used to pay for the costs of construction then RTE could probably walk away with a large number of flats that would provide a large and critically ring-fenced income stream to endow cultural areas of programming such as Irish Langauge and local news that is in my experience not provided to such an in depth level anywhere else. It is vital that by whatever means necessary that Ireland retains a strong independent national broadcaster to ensure that our unique national identity is protected.