Monday, May 27, 2019

A resident of the Cork city centre apartment block at the centre of a controversy over an attempted eviction of tenants has praised the turnaround in fortunes for those living in the building after it was bought out by a housing association.

File photo of Leeside Apartments.

Clúid today showcased the changes in the Leeside Apartments on Bachelor’s Quay to Lord Mayor Mick Finn, having bought the apartments earlier this year.

The 78-unit apartment complex had been owned by Lugus Capital, which issued eviction notices to 13 tenants in 2017 citing fire safety and renovations.

It sparked a campaign to resist the eviction notices, but Clúid’s intervention now means the remaining private residents have the security of their tenancy, while the rest of the apartments will be filled by people on the City Council waiting list.

Amy O’Riordan has lived in the apartments for seven years. She said she was facing homelessness, and the prospect of taking her six-year-old son out of school and the only home he has known until Clúid secured the building.

She said the outcome has been “amazing”, saying: “It’s better than what I could have hoped for. They’re willing to work with the residents.

“From day one, that’s all we said, we wanted to work with the owners, we wanted to compromise on things and to be able to have open dialogue and that’s exactly what Cluid bring, they always put the residents first and it’s a great way to move forward.”

While the apartments were bought for €20m, Cluid CEO Brian O’Gorman said a valuation was done, and explained that it represents a “peach” for the organisation.

He said: “We value everything that we buy, so we have to be able to stand over what we pay for it, and if the valuations come back well below what we’re paying for it, then we can’t proceed.”

“But a location like this ticks all the boxes for us, it’s right at the centre, it’s close to all amenities,” he said.

This is where people can actually build lives, where they’re close to all services where they can participate in society and contribute and give something back. We develop in these locations, we do it all the time. You know, this is really a peach for us, it really is.

Lord Mayor Mick Finn praised the working arrangement between Cork City Council and Cluid.

He said: “It’s really a great success story that came from a difficult situation for the residents and departments.

“But to see it now and see it has been filled up, and to see people who would have been facing a homelessness situation in the city, now being in the centre of the city in fantastic apartments, represents a new start for many people.”

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