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Council Targets Former Bank Buildings To Address Housing And Vacancy Challenges

Ulster Bank could be acquired as part of the city council's adaptive reuse programme.

Dublin City Council could acquire the former Ulster Bank on College Green in order to convert the building into social housing, according to The Irish Times.

The bank was put on the market for €13.5M as part of a portfolio sale of the bank’s former branch network following its closure earlier this year.

The city council last October set up an adaptive reuse unit charged with identifying opportunities to convert vacant and derelict commercial buildings into homes. It hopes to deliver 20 to 50 homes through adaptive reuse in 2024 and more than 100 homes in 2025.

The unit within the Housing and Community Services department was established in October 2022, and the council has been “keeping an eye on the former Ulster Bank property portfolio,” Programme Manager Fiona Craven told the newspaper.

The council is understood to be targeting the College Green branch in part because the property is a historic protected structure and has a prominent location on College Green.

The council also has plans to develop the area into a traffic-free civic plaza and has outlined plans for the area from College Green to the junction with South Great George’s Street. It said that the project “will provide a world-class, multi-functional space, which complements some of Dublin’s most illustrious historical buildings, notably Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland.” 

Dublin City Council advertised a €10M contract for its design late last year.

The council is also in negotiations to acquire the two-storey former Bank of Ireland branch on North Circular Road in Phibsborough, which will provide four two-bedroom apartments at the ground and first-floor levels. It had previously assessed the former Ulster Bank branch on Baggot Street Lower, but its internal layout ruled it out for conversion.

However, the council is continuing to assess buildings and is set to complete the purchase of the former Oman Antique Galleries on 114-116 Capel Street, which will be converted into two floors of apartments.