Smithfield, Dublin

Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby sw101 » Thu Jun 09, 2005 2:55 pm

that mosaic is terrible. not a big fan of the central tower. it looks like a brick wearing a discoloured graduation hat.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:12 pm

The tower couldn't really be called a tower it is only 2 or 3 storeys taller than the other buildings, I am dissapointed by this development it looks ok but you would have hoped for something a little better. I'll post a photo tomorrow if no-one else does in the meantime.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby kefu » Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:21 pm

It is a tower: ie a structure whose height is taller than its diameter. But then again most buildings are.
There's not much point in speaking of disappointment because it looks exactly like the plans that appeared in all the newspapers and on the developer's website.
Considering the many developments have managed to look far worse than the architect's drawings over the years, this is an improvement of sorts.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby d_d_dallas » Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:52 pm

It may not be a "tower" when viewed from Smithfield, but from the top of Stoneybatter/Prussia St it dominates. The development as a whole screams high quality and money, but in a corporate "good taste" kind of way. Certainly far worse has gone into far more affluent areas.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 3:57 pm

I see what you are saying and I agree that much worse has gone in to more valuable sites that is why I said it was ok, the one detail in it that annoys me is the copper element at the top it is like sw101 said the top of a graduation hat and I think it has an unfinished appearance.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby kefu » Thu Jun 09, 2005 4:17 pm

My biggest concern with this type of development is the Section 23 status.
I think the entry level one-bed apartment for Smithfield Market, overlooking the redeveloped city council housing at Blackhall Place, cost in the region of E365,000.
This rules out the vast majority of first-time buyers, and any first-timers with that kind of cash probably wouldn't buy in Smithfield anyway.
I went in to their sales office one time and the only people there appeared to be middle-aged investors. Even though I'm familiar with how much property tends to be in Dublin, I was still flabbergasted at the prices being asked for in Smithfield.
When you have this constant transitional population, especially beside city council housing (which although brand new already looks badly maintained) - the buildings always get run down very quickly. You see the same thing right along Parnell Street.
The owners don't care because they get their rent regardless and the tenants don't care either because it's just a temporary arrangement.
I think Section 23 was acceptable to drag Parnell Street out of the mire it was in. But by the time Smithfield Market came on stream, the tax relief were completely unnecessary.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby jimg » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:21 pm

My biggest concern with this type of development is the Section 23 status.

Absolutely. These development tax breaks have far outlived their usefulness and are now actually damaging the country. The reason a one bed can fetch 370k is simply because an investor (who already owns a number of investment properties) can probably recoup about 150k of the purchase price against tax. This is perverse; the general exchequer loses out to the tune of 150k while owner occupiers are priced out of the market. Another property based tax relief - section 48 - is causing traditional costal villages and holiday areas to be engulfed in barely utilised holiday home housing estates. Tax breaks are an extremely crude instrument compared to grant aid. At least with the latter each proposal can be vetted. No matter how shite or nasty the development is, the exchequer ends up subsidising it (through foregoing tax) as long as some very basic conditions are met. At least with a grant scheme, the criteria can be tuned from year to year. The sooner these tax breaks are dispensed with the better.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:33 pm

I agree that Smithfield didn't need tax breaks as the Collins Barricks development & Jameson Distillery Scheme had already lifted the area up, there is a very funny thread on http://www.p45.net about smithfield a sort of humorous attempt at a gentrification indicator rating, and it safe enough to assume the Smithfield scored quite well if one moves the childrens Court.

I do however think that Section 23 still has a very valid role to play in eliminating urban decay as it does take much of the risk out of developments that could only be considered marginal. The key is definitely to ensure that areas selected require the extra push, what is required is to stop drawing lines on maps and start offering site specific incentives, surely if the government can afford to forgo significant revenue they can afford to adequately assess what specific sites could most benefit from the overall objective which is I believe called 'Urban Renewal'.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby kefu » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:52 pm

Couldn't agree more Thomond Park.
I think the issue with Smithfield Market is that when this area was put into the urban renewal pot initially in the late 1980s (I think), it was precisely as you described it - marginal.
However, by the time, this development was approved just a couple of years ago, It was always going to be incredibly lucrative. There was absolutely no risk involved in this.
It wasn't just Collins Barracks and the other side of Smithfield either that lifted the area.
Almost the entirety of Stoneybatter/Manor Street had already been gentrified. North Brunswick Street had been almost entirely redeveloped and the Luas line was practically laid.
It was a complete no-brainer for the developers.
I agree that Section 23 type incentives shouldn't be thrown out entirely.
They are a good way to get the ball rolling. But very strict reviewable time limits and conditions should be adopted in future so that developers can't cash in on the risk that was taken by somebody else years earlier.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby jimg » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:56 pm

Every aspect of section 23 you are defending TP could be achieved far more efficiently and more transparently by having an urban renewal grant fund set aside every year.

People seem to think that tax breaks don't cost anything. The reality is that whether you forego 100m of income or get the 100m and hand it out again, the net result is the exact same. At least if you collect it and hand it out you can be selective when you're handing it out and you tune the criteria as you go along. Tax relief is an extremely crude, inefficient and market-distorting way of subsidising marginal development. Invariably the money ends up supporting inappropriate schemes or encouraging economic activity which wasn't envisaged or having bad side effects. The latter include, in this case for example, pricing owner-occupiers out of the market and effectively allowing landlords join that select group (including artists and lifestock breaders) who are exempt from income tax.

Tax breaks are also Enron-like from a budgeting point of view. Basically you are incurring costs (the loss of future tax revenue) without having to account for it at all.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby Frank Taylor » Thu Jun 09, 2005 5:58 pm

Smithfield is unrecognisable now from the way it was 10 yaers ago. Is this not the result of tax relief and the Luas?

Private cash was invested in the area that otherwise might have gone abroad. Had the reliefs not been available, the individuals might have found other ways to rearrange their tax affairs to pay less.

Whether it is worth keeping these incentives now is another question. The tax incentives raise the price of property in the area, so investors end up overpaying compared to similar property in a non-incentive area.

The real winner is someone like Duffy's scrapyard that owned the development land before the tax status was announced.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby kefu » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:09 pm

I think we all agree that Smithfield is a better place now. But using a sledgehammer to break down a door is not the only way to go.
Smithfield was already unrecognisable before the Smithfield Market scheme got underway.
Just as a for instance. At the new scheme ... "Underground parking spaces are available to purchase for €40,000. Maintenance fees are expected to be in the region of €1,500 for one-bed apartments, €1,700 for two-beds and €2,000 for three-beds."
Why on earth give tax relief to a developer who knows they can get E40k for a car parking space.
The site was so lucrative by the end of the urban renewal project that the Section 23 benefits were tantamount to a free government giveaway.
I'd say the developers will come out with more cash than Charlie Duffy at the end of this. He was served with a tax bill for nearly E20 million by the Criminal Assets Bureau in part because of this deal.
Part of the reason he was so slow to sell all those years is that he knew it would have given him an obvious asset that the Revenue could target for years of failing to make tax returns.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:10 pm

I'm not so sure Jim, property is a fixed asset that goes on beyond the lifespan of the tax-breaks unlike bloodstock, at the end of the ten-year period of the relief or the finance period on the asset; the income from the property becomes taxable. If the asset is transfered it is subject to CGT Capital Gains Tax and everyone employed in the design, construction, disposal and management pays tax. As the Tribunals have shown many very wealthy people in Ireland have very sophisticated ways of both avoiding and evading tax, at least with a properly refined Section 23 incentive scheme the money remains in the Country and will acheive an objective that most Local Authorities want to acheive but don't have the funds to implement them.

The grant fund scheme is a good idea but it has one fatal flaw it is a pro-cyclical idea or at times when demand is highest ie at times of economic strength governments have the resources to implement these schemes but conversely when the economy is weak these schemes are always amongst the first programmes cut. Tax relief in contrast allows the government to relax regulations in recession and attract private individuals to borrow private money to raise demand in the labour intensive construction industry. The revenues are lost over a ten year period over which typically the fiscal position should be healthy for at least 6-7 years.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby jimg » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:19 pm

Private cash was invested in the area that otherwise might have gone abroad.

This is an often repeated claim but I've never heard an argument towards why this might happen. If anything, you're more likely to get doubly screwed by tax if you derive some of your income from foreign investments.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there are 200 units in the new development in Smithfield with an average value of 400K. Assume a 90% qualifying cost yielding a total of 72 million worth of section 23 allowance which will be drawn down over the next few years by the landlords.

If you had designated that 72 million of grant aid was available for apartment construction in Smithfield then at the very worst you could achieve the same result (lining the pockets of the builders/landowners) without biasing the market in favour of rental use for the property. If you had any imagination you could apply a host of conditions on that particular development in order to qualify for the grant aid.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:24 pm

But as I said above in times of recession the government wouldn't have the money to do this, the EU rules on grant aid are clear 'urban renewal is to be implemented only where a definitive case of market failure exists'
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby Frank Taylor » Thu Jun 09, 2005 6:42 pm

This is an often repeated claim but I've never heard an argument towards why this might happen. If anything, you're more likely to get doubly screwed by tax if you derive some of your income from foreign investments.
plenty of jurisdictions are happy to invest money without disclosing details to your home tax authorities - so long as they believe that you are not a criminal. Try Switzerland.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there are 200 units in the new development in Smithfield with an average value of 400K. Assume a 90% qualifying cost yielding a total of 72 million worth of section 23 allowance which will be drawn down over the next few years by the landlords.
in this case, the relief would be 42% of 72million or 30.24million. The rest of the money (41.76million) is private cash.

If you had any imagination you could apply a host of conditions on that particular development in order to qualify for the grant aid.
Any number of conditions may be attached to tax relief - I don't understand your point here.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby jimg » Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:24 pm

plenty of jurisdictions are happy to invest money without disclosing details to your home tax authorities - so long as they believe that you are not a criminal. Try Switzerland.

Sure, if you're prepared to ignore the laws of the land and risk the repercussions, there are lots of ways of increasing your wealth (including robbing post offices). What's your point here? Because it might be possible for people to break the law and evade paying tax we should give them tax relief as a pre-emptive measure?

You are correct about that it would be only 44% of the 72 million foregone in tax revenue.

Any number of conditions may be attached to tax relief - I don't understand your point here.

That's not the case. Section 23 is a very blunt instrument; the authorities cannot apply stipulations on a site by site basis, for example.

TP, the anti-cyclical argument is an interesting one but I'm not fully convinced by it. The EU/ECB has belatedly recongnised that the government borrowing cap is a bad idea and that governments (currently Germany and France) should be allowed to borrow in a downturn in order to increase the money in the economy according to classic Keynesian economic theory. A significant factor for the government using inefficient tax incentive schemes and PPPs to boost capital investment in the country was in order to keep debt off the books to meet the ECB's criteria. That pressure is now gone. Anyway, It is always better to have the option available to to cut spending on areas that don't need it. In a recession, for example, the government could quickly respond to the fact that no more holiday homes are needed and cut that budget, diverting the spending into activities which would boost economic activity.
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:21 pm

[quote="Originally Posted by [url"]http://home.eircom.net/content/irelandcom/breaking/5360895?view=Eircomnet[/url]
]

Contracts to review tax incentives awarded
From:ireland.com
Saturday, 9th April, 2005


Two contracts to review of certain property tax incentives have been awarded by the Minister for Finance Mr McCreevy Brian Cowen.

The successful companies were Goodbody economic consultants]

These reports will be very carefully examined by a number of people.

An example of the types of conditions imposed on tax relief schemes are found in this link below:



http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPub.nsf/0/a8e42547d6028a3a80256f0f003dbbbd?OpenDocument
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Re: Smithfield Market Development

Postby fergus » Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:42 am

can anyone give an example of good architecture that has come about from the implemtation of tax breaks other than this comercial speck shit?
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Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby Devin » Sun Feb 19, 2006 12:54 pm

Image

Image

Image

Image

On many levels, this is a very good ‘regeneration’ development, one of the best Dublin has yet received - as was acknowledged by a UK urban design expert in the paper last week. It fulfils many objectives of good urbanism: it’s permeable; provides quality public space; the materials and finishing are good; it creates new vistas; the tower is a landmark in itself but is still subordinate to the main landmark of Smithfield (the chimney); the apartments appear to be well-designed and spacious. But it must be said that it is an extremely bulky development, and it probably should not have been quite so bulky.

It is at least one third bigger (and heading for twice as big in places) than the development on the east side of the square (‘Chief O’Neill’s’). How did it end up so much bigger? There was only about 4 year’s difference between the planning of the two …

The scale of this development begs the question: In order to obtain a development of this quality, a development that compares favourably with the urban qualities of earlier Dublin (which I think it does), is it a given that we have to accept a significant increase in scale in the central area? Can a large site like this not be developed within the general scale of the area? Is it unviable? How come it was done on the east side only a short time earlier?

Granted an area like Smithfield was less ‘intact’ as a historic district and so less sensitive scale-wise than most of the rest of the central area, but still there is a sense of the scale of the area being totally overwhelmed.




Image

There are a couple of hanger-on Georgian houses on the west side of Queen Street; the one on the left (probably originally 4 stories but now cut down to 2 - may be reconstructed to full height eventually) and the two white ones beyond that (all 3 being protected structures). You could not say that the new development is respectful of scale of these houses.



[align=center]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/align]



Image

Just looking at Smithfield generally, its architectural coherence as an urban square is frankly a mess. While the two main developments on the east and west sides are individually of high urban design quality, they are considerably out of scale with one another. Then most of the rest of the square is made up of a knackery mix of leftover bits and pieces and bad ‘80s & ‘90s stuff.

At the top end (above) there’s one nicely-restored Georgian house on the extreme left. Then a potentially-charming but appallingly-dilapidated terrace of typical Dublin buildings in the middle. Then on the right is what I think is one of the worst buildings in Dublin; a 1990s red brick apartment block which is not only architecturally dismal in itself but commits the heinous crime of pushing a rounded corner into a square defined by right angle corners (a la Lavitt’s Quay in Cork). Then there’s the poor oul ‘80s Corpo housing along the side which doesn’t seem to quite know what to be doing with itself within the ‘brave new’ Smithfield …

The street furniture in the foreground is not holding up too well – many of the stainless steel bollards are bent and kinked.




Image

The containment of the south end of the square is similarly messy. There's this non-descript office block on the east side (more suited to Amiens Street or Grand Canal Street I think). The row of trees on the left fills in the line of the square where the Irish Distillers building is set way back (is this area going to be built on at some stage?).




Image

Across the bottom is the back of the poxy Georgian-pastiche development on Arran Quay.




Image

Near the bottom on the west side is this dreary 4-storey ‘80s building which had 2 floors added on top recently (why?! – shouldn’t it just have been demolished?).

I hope the architectural coherence of Smithfield can be improved from hereon in.



Smithfield was the subject of a lot of discussion on the forum in the past, but not much lately (a quick ‘Smithfield’ search throws up many old threads). It would be good to get it back on the agenda!
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Re: Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby Maskhadov » Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:18 pm

Image

I think Smithfield looks great. I just wish that the buildings on the right and the very end could be knocked down and built in line with the new development. We have enough of Georgian in the city.
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Re: Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby murphaph » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:53 pm

Devin wrote:Image


More of the above please. I love this type of meandering pedstrianised precinct-a haven from vehicles and noise. The rest of the square is really shown up by this development, as is the appaling dross that was erected during the 90's. This development feels quite continental to me.
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Re: Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby niallig » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:06 pm

I think smithfield is a wonderful area but somehow lacks soul, they should organise many more events there and a more regular basis. At the moment the place just looks like a big empty car park
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Re: Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby Devin » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:57 pm

Maskhadov wrote:I think Smithfield looks great. I just wish that the buildings on the right and the very end could be knocked down and built in line with the new development.
Yes Maskhadov, they should be demolished, but you can't say that because it's not PC! You're meant to say something like 'the retention of the existing community in Smithfield is a vital element in the ongoing evolution and rebirth of the square blah-de-blah ...' !

Oh what to do! The houses so clearly don't fit but it's not like you can say they were a mistake on social grounds and should be redeveloped ... Obviously the community should stay, but the houses definitely need to be redeveloped. Anyone any ideas how this might happen??

A nice rainy view :) :
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Re: Smithfield Market - what's the verdict?

Postby kite » Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:06 am

Maskhadov wrote:Image

I think Smithfield looks great. I just wish that the buildings on the right and the very end could be knocked down and built in line with the new development. We have enough of Georgian in the city.


:o Something needs knocking !!, i would agree with you Maskhadov, but for city planners to allow the left and right of your photoghaph to live in "harmony" is a joke?
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