Ten years on, St Teresa’s is ready for its revamp

by Gazette Reporter
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DUBLIN’S largest flats complex, St Teresa’s Gardens in Dolphin’s Barn, has been cleared of all residents to allow for the completion of the regeneration plans proposed over 10 years ago.
The complex, which housed 346 flats next to the Coombe Maternity Hospital, was assigned for regeneration due to its poor living conditions from damp and sewage problems that could not be resolved through maintenance. But initial plans were scrapped after the property market collapse over five years ago.
Sinn Fein’s Cllr Ray McHugh has welcomed the redevelopment and hopes “a new developed complex will renew life and community spirit to the area,” but has expressed that there are some difficulties rehousing families with the current housing crisis. “While rehousing tenants can be difficult, the council are doing their best in the present housing emergency.”
St Teresa’s was designed in the 1930s but wasn’t constructed until the 1950s, meaning that the complex currently fails to meet building regulation standards. The consolidation and refurbishment process uses a mix of new construction and “retrofitting” of existing flats as opposed to the more straightforward demolition and rebuilding.
Dublin City Council executive manager of the housing department Tony Flynn said: “They’ve been taken back to the bare bones. We’ve cut through walls that were a foot thick. Everything was stripped out and everything is new – new insulation, new plumbing and electrics, central heating, kitchens, bathrooms, floors, doors.”
Flynn said the new units were “much bigger” having been knocked together and reconfigured from two-bedroom flats to three-bedroom homes. Fifty-six redeveloped flats will be completed by Christmas at a cost of €50,000-€80,000 a unit.
Work begins on building 34 houses and 16 apartments on the site of the demolished flats in 2016. Three flat blocks and 10 houses have been demolished, and two more blocks will be demolished before Christmas and as soon and the new houses and apartments are built the residents in the reconditioned flats will be given the option of staying or moving to the new units.
A Facebook page set up by locals, St Teresa’s Memories, has become a platform for the former residents to share memories, keep their community spirit alive and discuss current and upcoming developments on a place many families called home for decades.
Although former residents have voiced their grief over the loss of a once close-knit community, Flynn hopes to “see a whole new vibrant community developing, including the existing community.”

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