Re: Re: Metro West

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Three pieces from yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Metro West between Hunstown and Airport
By Neil Callanan

Developer Bernard McNamara severely criticised the fact that the Metro West routes drawn up by the Railway Procurement Authority (RPA) would not serve Dublin Airport.

A submission drawn up by Keith Simpson & Associates for Grattan Property Company, one of McNamara’s property vehicles, stated that the two routes proposed by the RPA would result in the line “serving lands zoned for agriculture, warehouse and open space — it makes no sense!!”

Instead, McNamara lobbied for an alternative route which would serve Dublin airport’s western campus and onto a third terminal at Dublin airport, which his submission stated could be needed by 2012. “With a simple two kilometre extension, Metro West would serve ten million passengers on day one of opening, increasing to 20 million within ten years,” the submission stated.

The submission said that the route would cost an extra e72 million but generate additional ticket income of e10 million per annum and cater for 15,000 jobs which will be created on lands zoned for airport development.

McNamara owns just under 94 acres to the west of the airport, 44.5 of which are not in any public safety zone.

Also close to the airport, Blackrock Land chairman Carl McCann pointed out that the second route, which would serve Huntstown, Harristown and Sillogue, would dissect Blackrock’s 50 acres of land at Dubber, south of the airport. “This solution is significantly less attractive than the alternative and would adversely affect the value of our property,” he wrote.

As a result he felt option one, which would link Huntstown to Meakstown and then Sillogue was “therefore better for us and seems generally better for everyone intended to benefit from the new infrastructure since it would take the line closer to more people and to existing development rather than to future development”.

The Marshalsea Property Company added its voice to the support of that route as it “would have the largest potential catchment and would best serve employees and businesses” within its North Park development. It pointed out that there was around 350 acres of land zoned for light industrial use and additional land zoned for about 2,150 housing units were within walking distance of the Huntstown stop.

It argued the alternative route “would not provide sufficient service to the large residential catchments of Meakstown and indeed the district centre of Charlestown and it is considered to be of less benefit to the overall land area”.

The Bailey brothers and Liam Carroll also made their views known on the proposals for this area, with each making similar submissions.

Carroll said his Horizon lands, which are between the M2 and Naul Road, some of which is jointly owned by the Dublin Airport Authority, had various zonings but that their density of development could be greatly increased.

The Louth-born developer gained control of his stake in the site following his takeover of Dunloe Ewart and his submission says the land has huge potential: “Although the area currently has various different zonings it may be possible, in the interest of sustainability, to develop these lands in a manner which benefits the environment, the metro operations and ensures development of areas close to rail stations in an appropriate fashion”.

It points out the Harristown bus depot is immediately adjacent to the site and that a proposed stadium (which is for Bohemians) is also earmarked for the site. A stop there would “provide for a high capacity crowd and would generate significant patronage for the metro service to access major sporting events and concerts”.

Both Carroll and the Bailey brothers said a stop in Baleskin, where the Baileys have land, should be looked at instead of a stop in Huntstown. The Baileys, through their company Bovale, pointed out that they own a significant landbank “which can contribute positively to the business case for metro, through reduced construction costs and increased patronage through suitably integrated development on the lands”.

Their land at Baleskin, which is to the north east of the M50-M2 interchange, “has a huge potential”.

Also in Finglas, CRH subsidiary Roadstone Dublin pointed out that both of the proposed routes would pass between their lands and the ESB substation in Finglas. “We presume the route will probably have to be located on our property,” the submission states.

“We call on the RPA to keep an absolute minimum the area of our lands severed by the proposed metro. Please note that we will seek the RPA to acquire any and all of our lands severed by the scheme.”

CRH also signalled that it was “interested in exploring the possibility” of developing a park and ride facility on part of its quarry. It said operations at the quarry were expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Metro West between Porterstown and Hunstown
By Neil Callanan

Green Property and Cosgrave Developments are facing off over the planned route of metro west through Blanchardstown.

Green has lobbied the RPA to use the proposed metro west route two through Blanchardstown which would stop in Whitestown near the town centre and continue to IT Blanchardstown and Ballycoolin. It stated in its submission that a wayleave within its lands, which is on the proposed route two, had already been left “free of development for in excess of 20 years” by Green Property for such a rail track.

The existing retail park and fashion park as well as the surface car parking had all been designed to allow this rail line to pass through the development. “It is submitted that the lands within the established wayleave have a lower land value than prime town centre lands and are remote from any sensitive land uses, including residential use and sub surface systems,” it stated. This made it the most convenient and cost effective option to serve the town centre and it would be “favourably disposed to discussing the transfer of these lands to Fingal County Council to deliver the proposed metro line”. They were also willing to discuss the general possibility of varying the route to make it closer to the town centre.

The property company was however much less inclined to transfer lands in their ownership to deliver the route one option because it is “prime town centre land and would significantly disrupt existing operations and future development opportunities on their lands within Blanchardstown town centre”. It said this route would cause traffic disruption and contribute to congestion as well as being more costly, more problematic to deliver and difficult to integrate within the existing town centre. It would also be on the opposite side of the recently constructed bus interchange.

The Cosgraves own the 22.7 acre West End mixed use development which comprises a retail park, residential, shops, leisure uses and offices. It argued in its submission that the route proposed through the town centre is the best one and has drawn up a strategic development plan for its land which would include “an appropriate densification of retail and other mixed-use activity within the overall town centre” and significanty enhanced pedestrian links between Blanchardstown Town Centre and the lands controlled by the Cosgraves. It argued that this will also improve links between the Town Centre and the village’s main street.

“This will finally alter the current perception of the town centre as being little more than a car-dependent shopping centre, notwithstanding the extent of non-retail uses therein,” Cosgrave stated. It added that there is little scope for commuter car parking via the route favoured by Green.
The RPA has yet to make up its mind on the issue and is looking at a number of route options in the area that “will be investigated in greater detail”.

In Castleknock, the owners of Luttrellstown demesne – John Magnier, JP McManus and Aidan Brooks – said that the metro line should not run inside the boundary of the 567-acre estate “because it would not be appropriate from a commercial, planning or conservation perspective”. The route through the demesne had been suggested by a number of members of the public but said it would not be suitable. In a submission drawn up by Brian Meehan & Associates, they wrote that it “would detract and devalue this important asset” and reduce the commercial viabilty of a proposed tourism and recreational complex for which planning permission has been granted.

The submission said that routing the metro through the demesne, which was acquired by the trio for about e200 million, would not maximise its accessibility to the general population and routing it farther east would be more sustainable. “In land use planning terms, the routing of metro through the demesne lands would be viewed as an incongruous feature that would be at variance with the character and exclusive nature of the package that is Luttrellstown Castle resort,” it argued. “It is also envisaged that the metro would contribute to difficulties in the area in terms of privacy and security – real and perceived – as a result of the breach in the estate walls.” The demesne wall is a protected structure, it pointed out.

Magnier, Brooks and McManus were not alone. Paul Monahan of Monarch Properties wrote to the RPA stating that he owns Castleknock golf club and “as previously indicated to you, I formally now request that this line does not go through these lands as it will have an adverse impact on the amenity of the golf course”.

Eugene Larkin’s Twinlite Developments suggested that a third option through Blanchardstown should be looked at. Twinlite argued that the routes proposed by the RPA were “deficient because they did not serve “high value employers in north Blanchardstown and other high demand areas such as Blanchardstown Corporate Park and Tyrrelstown”. It said these areas were the economic driver for the region and using either of the proposed routes would represent ” a lost opportunity to create a self sustaining place in which to work and live and which is focussed on sustainable modes of travel”.

Instead Larkin said a route from Ballycoolin Road to Kilsharne would provide greater integration of land use and transport planning and said that the additional financial cost of constructing this route “will be more than offset by the greater potential for development levies” because it “goes through substantial undeveloped, zoned lands that have significant development potential”.

The line was an opportunity to raise just under e350 million extra in levies than either of the other routes if it was 100 per cent built out and could continue across to the Northern Fringe, north of Darndale, where a new town called Clongriffin is being developed. Larkin’s route was not acted upon by the RPA.

Stadium Investments, which is owned by Maurice and Catherine Hennigan, owns a significant amount of land in the Ballycoollin/Cappoge area and outlined the case for a metro stop to be developed on or adjacent to their lands to the east of Cappagh Road. Space has already been allocated for such a stop and the submissions pointed out that 63,000 square metres of light industrial and warehousing space had already been granted planning permission there. It was also close to Cappagh hospital and would create an opportunity for higher density employment uses. If the metro was to stop near their site “it is possible that a further application, increasing the intensity of uses at this location, could be made”.

Metro West between Tallaght and Porterstown

By Neil Callanan

The owners of Liffey Valley shopping centre said they were prepared to provide free to the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) any land within Liffey Valley that was required to allow metro west to serve the centre. They offered to build an integrated metro station and public transport interchange at their own cost and were prepared to pay a capital contribution towards the cost of diverting metro west into Liffey Valley.

Owen O’Callaghan, Grosvenor Properties and Morley Fund Management also stated that under current proposals the shopping mall at the centre will increase from 28,000 square metres in February 2007 to 68,000 square metres in 2010. The developers also expect to have 7,000 people working in Liffey Valley by 2010. So far the RPA have not signalled that they will allow the detour to the shopping centre.

Their submission was drawn up by Simon Clear & Associates and suggested that 15 per cent of the annual visitors to the town centre would use the metro service, equating to 5.5 milllion passengers annually.

A company called Dietacarron, based at O’Callaghan Properties offices in Cork, owns land in Balgaddy and lobbied for the first metro west route stating it would provide links “between the existing and emerging urban areas of Tallaght, Liffey Valley, Blanchardstown, Clondalkin and Balgaddy-Clonburris. In particular, it said the Fonthill Road station would provide an interchange between rail and the future metro, providing a link with Heuston station.

Garrett Kelleher’s Shelbourne Development supported route one because it”would connect Metro North and Tallaght via substantial shopping centres, local town centres, large commercial areas and high density residential development”. Shelbourne owns the former Cable & Wireless site at the junction of Belgard Road and Airton Road and thus would benefit from that option, which is included in the RPA’s emerging preferred route.

Brendan Hickey of Davy Hickey Properties asked for a variation of the second route to be considered because the company believes the principle objection of Metro West should be to link Tallaght, Clondalkin, Lucan and Blanchardstown to each other and to the airport. It proposed therefore an alternative route, which would have been shorter to build and therefore cheaper, quicker and less disruptive to build. It would also provide a quicker journey time to Tallaght from Clondalkin. It wouold also be suitable for a future metro stop at Baldonnel.

Hickey said the main deficiency of route two was that it did not serve Clondalkin village and suggested that the route should turn east at Priest Town and follow the Cammock River where it could link up with any of the other route options. The RPA however have not followed Hickey’s advice in their emerging preferred route.

In Tallaght the Cookstown Development Partnership lobbied for the metro to serve their land because “the area will be transformed in the coming years with existing low grade low intensity uses being replaced with higher density mixed use developments”. The partnership owns 12 acres there and choosing the route that served it “would improve the economic viability of the line by generating significant development levies”. It would also increase the population and catchment area on the line. It lobbied for the first route, stating that a sub-option that would serve the estate and Belgard station would help create an integrated transport hub.

Also in Tallaght, CRH’s subsidiary Roadstone Dublin pointed out that the proposed route two was aligned adjacent to the boundaries of its Belgard quarry lands. It says it had recently completed negotiations with South Dublin County Council for lands required for the outer ring road linking the N7 and the N81 and “we would hope that sufficient lands were acquired at that time to accommodate metro west without the need to acquire additional areas of our Belgard lands, should this route be decided upon”. It also stated their hope that there would be no disruptions to the traffic flow from their quarry if that route was selected.

Alken brothers Gregory and Anthony, who bought the SDS site beside the Red Cow roundabout for e107 million in 2006, supported the first option.

The brothers, who are behind the Febvre wine importation business, also said the potential for an interchange between the metro and Luas at Red Cow or Newlands Cross should also be explored further. They said that they aim to develop a public transport interchange at the SDS site which “will connect with a variety of transport modes to provide a new level of accessibility across the metropolitan area”. They said a metro stop at the Luas depot would further improve that interchange and would be better than a station at Newlands Cross or St Brigid’s. That suggestion has not been taken on board by the RPA.

Businessman Bill Cullen’s Glencullen Motor Properties also lobbied for route one, which went via Newlands and St Brigids. Its Newland’s Renault site on the Naas Road in Dublin 12 is between the two stops.

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