Dún Laoghaire Town has benefitted from significant investment in the public realm, in the dlr LexIcon, and in residential development. Dún Laoghaire town and environs saw a sizeable population increase of approximately 1,900 persons in the last census – the strongest rate of growth in decades and a figure that is expected to continue to grow strongly.
Development in Dún Laoghaire Town centre in recent times has been largely focused on increasing residential capacity with a consequent decrease in the amount of small-scale commercial office floor space available for employment uses locally, This has had a knock on effect of a reduction in both the potential rates base of the town and the overall number of jobs located within the town. It is important to grow the employment base in the Town in order to retain and grow the mix of uses of space that create economic vibrancy and activity.
At DigitalHQ we believe that now is the time to end vacancy in the key publicly owned buildings identified in the KPMG Dun Laoghaire Town Study and reimagine the value proposition of Dun Laoghaire Town centre. This new Dun Laoghaire should not be dependent on large corporations, national or global brands or extractive economic models. Our model focuses on leveraging the underutilised existing built environment.
Our report estimates that 1,000 direct jobs and 870 indirect jobs would be created in Dún Laoghaire Town if three key Council owned vacant buildings were repurposed. We believe that the income to the Council in terms of rent, rates and increased occupancy of adjoining premises would significantly out weigh the costs of refurbishment on a medium term time horizon.
Some commentators describe Dun Laoghaire Town centre as a sleeping giant, great potential but not delivering on this. Post COVID the strategic advantage lies with the suburbs and our town needs to capitalise on this. In the past some feel that the town presented officials at DLR County Council with somewhat of a conundrum, it’s not been not clear what pedal to push to boost economic activity in the town centre.
We are strongly suggesting that the pedal to push now is remote work in order to capitalise on current substantial changes in work practices and set the goal of making Dún Laoghaire Dublin’s Remote Working capital.
As we outline in Section 6 this can be made possible in a finite period of time by the state adopting, in this era when the circular economy and sustainability are all important, a new approach to evaluating the cost of repurposing of vacant state/council owned buildings in town centres.
Our strategic report can be downloaded at the link below.