Roger Hobkinson, Director, of the Destination Consulting team of Colliers International in Dublin said:
“The extension of the Living Cities project to properties built before 1915 is a nod for the need for a fresh urban agenda in Ireland but it appears to only benefit owner occupiers. We believe more could have been done in the Budget to help the revitalisation and economic development of Ireland’s town and city centres. In particular at this time in the economic and property cycle stronger interventions to help deliver the modern city and town centre office space that will be needed in the years to come to accommodate the businesses and jobs that form part of the Governments job strategy. More support is needed for Ireland’s struggling city, town centres and Main Streets.
“Significant dispersed retail, residential and office development prior to 2008 has contributed to a major weakening of Ireland’s town and city centres. With negligible development since then, we need a rebalance of economic activity towards the major city and town centres. These locations are where sustainable economic development, growth, jobs and wealth can be achieved in the short, medium and long term. This is especially the case where state agencies own or control vacant or underused land and property.
“Critically the types of business and jobs Ireland is attracting in the growth sectors is going to need more locations meeting specific business requirements. The demand from businesses for office products located in dynamic, attractive city centre type areas is increasingly, with a need for excellent urban environment and high quality accessibility. This also reflects the urban location preferences of the generation that is starting to increasingly dominate the workforce and which businesses are targeting. For Ireland’s town and city centres having more centrally located office space will mean more “suits on the street”, which would contribute to more activity and vibrancy to support retailers and hospitality businesses across the City Centre, plus support more efficient delivery of public services such as public transport and car parking.
“As the domestic and European economy starts a slow recovery, the proposed financial support from NAMA will be crucial. It is vital that we focused on unlocking modern office development in city and town centre locations in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere.”
Colliers International Destination Consulting leads advice on fresh delivery strategies to support Ireland’s larger towns and cities. Recent projects include a reappraisal of Cork Docklands (“Cork City Harbour”), Cork City Centre Strategy, Land & Property Delivery Issues in Cork, Limerick City Centre, Naas Development Strategy, Waterford City & County and Dublin Docklands.