THE news that a mixed-use development on North Main Street has been given the green light has been met with some ambivalence.
The street is set for an influx of students in the coming years as a large mixed-use development, which includes student apartments, has been given the green-light.
An Bord Pleanála has granted permission to developers BMOR for the construction of 49 apartments containing 279 bed spaces, two retail units and a café/restaurant development on 92-96 North Main Street.
The development also makes provision for shared amenity/building management areas including a gym, laundry, library, cinema, reception, management office, lounge areas, linked gardens at ground floor level and rooftop terraces at the first, fourth, fifth and sixth floor levels.
Numbers 92 (former Molloy's Footwear store) and 95 (a vacant three-storey retail unit) on North Main Street are set to be demolished and a four to seven-story building constructed.
An Bord Pleanála has attached 23 conditions to their approval of the development.
One of the stipulations is that the apartments must only be occupied by students.
Speaking to, Green Party city councillor Dan Boyle said that while new retail units are welcome, he would have preferred if the apartments weren't exclusively student accommodation.
He also expressed some concerns that, given the current pandemic and the subsequent move to online lectures, there might not be the demand for student accommodation in the city.
"It’s one of the better developments in the sense that there are retail units as part of it but I still have a huge fear that there are so many of these applications (student accommodation) being given permission at the moment… I worry whether the market exists,” he said.
Some traders on North Main Street expressed the same view.
Patrick Leader, of Leaders Menswear, said when the news of the proposed developments came to light, it was hoped that the apartments wouldn’t exclusively be open to students to rent.
“The big concern was, if it was all students, was the concern about anti-social behaviour.
“That was one concern. The other was would the spend from regular style apartment dwellers be more in the local area than from students only,” he said.
Mr Leader said new retail units on the street will be a welcome addition but had concerns about whether these could be filled given the current climate.
Michael Creedon of Bradley’s off-license & food store said he would also have preferred to see accommodation that was open to anyone.
“Anything that brings life I suppose is welcome.
“I would have a preference for apartments that were suitable for everybody.
“For me, that would have been preferable, but at least there’s something happening!”