Opportunity for Housing Co-op in City Centre?

The Abbey Hotel on Middle Abbey Street is for sale for €950,000.

Would this represent a brilliant opportunity for a group of enterprising 20-somethings to secure housing for themselves in the City Centre (as a co-op, or some other legal structure)? Or would the practicalities/legalities/zoning concerns make that totally unworkable?

I feel myself scoffing at the idea even as I type it, but compared to some of the options out there at the moment paying, say, €70,000 for a 1/14th stake in this place is surely an attractive option?

I know there would be some details to work out (do you have to revamp the place? By how much? Do you add common rooms? Keep the bar open? Use the commercial kitchen? Would people even be happy living in studio apartments with large common areas? etc etc)

So, apart from the obvious, what dozens of other issues have I missed?

Planning and building regulations compliance.
Apartments would have to be a certain size, certain mix, dual aspect, windows to habitable rooms with wheelchair access, lifts etc.

With a more sober head on me this morning, the sheer size of the task does make it look rather unworkable.

That said, surely still pretty good value for that size of building in the city centre. I’m sure someone is going to snap this up and make a nice tidy profit on it. Student housing, maybe. What student wouldn’t want to live above a bar??

yep approx 20 mins walk from the Grangegorman DIT campus

DCC have already promoted a city centre housing co-op.

Search “fishamble” for thread here.

That would be the case if they were separate units, but what if it was technically one big unit, i.e. a “group house” of some sort?

That was (one of) my initial thought(s). Sharing a kitchen with that many people could be tricky, but perhaps you could convert two or three of the bedrooms into kitchens?

Would there be issues converting a hotel into residential like that, I wonder?

It’s so much building for the money it just feels like there should be some way of making it work.


Yes, I remember seeing that. Slightly different, in that the building was being built from scratch in that case, but maybe similar enough to make an interesting comparison alright. I’ll have to go back and re-read that one I think.

In the house projects of Berlin there is generally one kitchen per floor, and the users of each kitchen form sub-groups within the larger co-op structure.

(These house projects are generally former abandoned buildings in the east, illegally squatted and converted into co-op housing and other community facilities, since legalized but still providing affordable housing).

Go for it. We need ordinary citizens to help solve this housing debacle.

Unsurprisingly this has already gone above that asking price as it’s a licensed premises in a very busy and still up-and-coming area and a very large site in terms of footprint. Apparently the rooms are in rag-order but the shortage of hotel rooms in Dublin, the proximity of the place to the middle of Temple Bar and the proliferation of ‘hip’ businesses in the immediate area will allow a minor investment and good management make an excellent return. It is also a NAMA property AFAIK.

On the OP’s original proposal-it’s a good idea in principle-there are many more suitable buildings available around the city-but you must be wary that property brings out the absolute worst in Irish people and it’s almost inevitable that a project founded on community spirit will get a few pricks spoiling it for everyone.

A slightly sweeping and defeatist attitude, don’t you think?

OP - another model is provided by a group called Radical Routes in the UK. The property is bought by a trust, and the co-op members become tenants and thus are provided with secure and affordable accommodation. They recently did a speaking tour in Ireland and a local group has been set up.

radicalroutes.org.uk/images/ … ow-res.pdf

One of the early Grand Designs featured a co-op in Brighton who bought a plot of land and all built each others homes.

channel4.com/programmes/gran … od#3010457

I would love to see any project like this get going in Ireland. Its a fantastic way to build community and provide low cost housing. I lived in a co-op in the UK for a while. Terrific experience. Lovely house in the fanciest part of Manchester. Monthly rent was one quarter of the market rate. I will check out the links above…

I think this happens a bit in Portugal - people can get together to build and live as normal in regular apartments