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November 30 2017 2:30 AM
Dublin City Council is proceeding with a €25m plan to consolidate 19 depots on the city's northside into one location at Ballymun. The move will free up potential development sites and property that will be sold to finance the project.
The new scheme - which was initiated more than three years ago - will see 150 staff located at a new four-storey office block on a five-hectare greenfield site opposite an IKEA outlet.
The land is owned by Dublin City Council, but it's within the administrative area of Fingal County Council. The development will incorporate a number of facilities, such as workshops and warehouses, as well as a recycling centre for public use. That centre will be run by a private operator.
The council has been planning to fund the project through the disposal of the sites it will no longer require.
Those sites include locations that Dublin City Council currently uses as bases for the provision of services in the north of the city, such as waste management, housing, road maintenance, traffic, drainage and public lighting.
They include facilities in a number of industrial estates and business parks, such as Ballymun Industrial Estate, the Newtown Industrial Estate in Coolock and the North Ring Business Park in Santry.
Other facilities are located on roads such as Collins Avenue, as well as in Ringsend.
The new North City Operations Depot that Dublin City Council hopes to build in Ballymun will include a near 5,000 sq m (54,000 sq ft), four-storey office building, a central stores warehouse extending over 1,712 sq m (18,427 sq ft), as well as a number of workshops including a 355 sq m welding facility, a 507 sq m vehicles workshop, and 314 sq m signage workshop.
The project also includes a four-storey multi-storey carpark with parking for 132 council vehicles and 200 staff cars.
Additionally, the depot will include a 457 sq m (4,919 sq ft) "salt barn", capable of storing 2,200 tonnes of road salt.
"The vision of this project is to create a high quality, more integrated operational environment for servicing the operational needs for Dublin city," engineers working on the project have told Fingal County Council.
"This will be achieved through economies of scale, by providing shared resources/space for the 19 depots to be consolidated in this new location."
While almost all the services that will transfer to the new depot are currently undertaken in the north of the city, the public lighting and traffic services that will be based there serve the entire Dublin City Council area.
At least some of the locations around the city that Dublin City Council intends to dispose of to fund the project are likely to be of interest to developers.
The large site off Collins Avenue, for example, is directly opposite Dublin City University and adjoins existing housing estates on two sides.
"It is anticipated that the funding [for the new depot] will largely come from the release of capital through disposal of sites," a Dublin City Council meeting was told last year.
"However, the funding model will need to be reviewed with the Council in the context of all depots, and not just those relocating to Ballymun."
Dublin City Council has been working on the plan for the new depot since 2014.
That year, it held a workshop to explain to staff what the consolidated operation would look like, and to explore how the model could work most effectively.
Dublin City Council has a budget of €917m for 2018.