Liberties Business Forum End of Year Report 2014

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The Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative is a partnership between Dublin City Council and local stakeholders and businesses in the commercial streets of The Liberties Dublin. The programme is working to revive one of Dublin’s most historic and colourful districts to create a highly attractive area within which to live, work, visit and invest. The Liberties Business Forum represents the interests of large and small businesses and stakeholders in Dublin’s historic Liberties district. The Forum works in partnership with Dublin City Council to oversee and deliver The Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative - an initial three year collaboration to transform the business environment of Dublin 8. This End of Year Report sets out the vision of the Business Area Improvement Initiative and the Forum and lays out the achievement of the programme in its first year.


Our ambition is to develop the commercial streets of The Liberties Thomas Street & Cornmarket, James Street, High Street, Meath Street, Francis Street and Newmarket - as a highly attractive area within which to live, work, visit and invest. -3-

CONTEXT The Liberties Dublin The Liberties is one of Dublin’s most historic and colourful districts, lying just to the west of the city centre. Broadly defined by the River Liffey to the north and places such as Newmarket, The Tenters and Blackpitts to the south, and running east to west from Patrick Street to St James Hospital, the main commercial spine of The Liberties - Cornmarket, Thomas Street and James Street – forms a primary approach to the city centre from the west. Often seen as the heart of 'traditional Dublin', The Liberties is characterised by a vibrant and diverse local community and is among the most populous parts of the city, with over 23,000 people living within a 1km 2 area. Although often characterised as underperforming and prone to significant social challenges, the picture is much more complex. The area is host to a number of dynamic business sectors and employment hubs, has excellent schools and education centres, including third level institutes, and possesses a robust, young and upwardly mobile population. It’s one the most culturally diverse and international areas of the city.

Changing Times Today The Liberties is a city neighbourhood undergoing significant change; an area of opportunities and innovation. This is where the heritage of an historic city quarter sits side by side with dynamic media hubs and enterprise centres and highly respected medical and education centres. The Liberties is emerging strongly from the economic downturn as a key growth centre in Dublin: an attractive place to live, work and visit based on its proximity to the city centre, its excellent transport links, its vibrant community and social life, and its wealth of cultural attractions and heritage.


One of Dublin’s best known commerce and mercantile districts - focused on markets streets such as Thomas Street and Meath Street and including niche retailing such as antiques and crafts on Francis Street. Occasional markets are also a feature of Newmarket.

Dublin’s ’must-see’ area - The Liberties is rich in historic and contemporary sights including some of the State's most successful visitor attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse, St Patrick's Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, and Dublinia. High Street -Thomas Street - James Street forms part of The Dubline, a major investment route through the city promoted by Fáilte Ireland. It is estimated that 600,000 visitors walk the route along Thomas Street each year to the Guinness Storehouse, while the Storehouse itself attracted 1.3m visitors in 2014. A centre for new media and digital enterprises - The Liberties includes two vibrant small enterprise hubs at The Digital Hub and Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC). Together, these centres currently host over 150 micro-enterprises employing over 800 people. There are opportunities to sustain further companies in the area and encourage ‘scaling up’, retaining dynamic businesses within the local economy.

Highly respected education and creative industries - Thomas Street is the home of National College of Art & Design, a college of UCD and the State's largest art and design faculty. The area also includes a number of smaller specialist private colleges. In addition, the area boasts a vibrant and diverse arts scene and is home to a large number of architecture and design practices, galleries and art collectives, craft stores and studio spaces. The Liberties is a true Design District. The centre of the city’s traditional craft brewing and distilling sector - the home of Guinness, James Street has long been synonymous with the brewing giant. However the wider area has a rich heritage of brewing and distilling that is now seeing a revival following decline in the 20th century. Three new whiskey distilleries are currently in various phases of development in the area. The craft brewing and distilling sector is very much tied to the area's tourism growth and the rich industrial architectural heritage of the area heightens the experience of visitors to this part of the city.


Business Area Improvement Initiative The Liberties Business Area Improvement Initiative is a programme supported by Dublin City Council and local stakeholders and businesses to enhance and transform the commercial heart of Dublin 8 and create a more vibrant and attractive city neighbourhood in which to live, work and visit. The Initiative is coordinating Dublin City Council investment in the physical environment of the area, in cultural life and activities, and together with its partners in The Liberties Business Forum working to promote and market the area.


TEAM: Stephen Coyne Programme Coordinator Michael Barry Marketing & Promotions Officer -6-

The Liberties Business Forum

The Forum’s Objectives

The Liberties Business Forum was established in March 2014 by Dublin City Council and a number of key stakeholders to represent the views of businesses in the area and to work proactively for physical renewal and urban regeneration.

 To contribute to the ongoing improvement of

The forum includes representation from Dublin City Council South Central Area, The Digital Hub Development Agency, National College of Art & Design, Diageo Ireland plc, The Guinness Storehouse, St James Hospital, and the businesses of Francis Street, Thomas Street and Meath Street.

enterprises in the area and to develop a process of partnership between these businesses, Dublin City Council and other agencies.

commercial and social life in The Liberties through practical measures and actions over an initial period of three years.

 To represent the interests of small and larger

 To establish clear communication to

businesses in The Liberties of developments, improvements and initiatives taking place in the area.

 To promote The Liberties as a place to invest.

Inaugural Forum (Convening March 2014) Catherine Heaney - Chairperson

 To promote The Liberties as a great place in

Anthony Flynn - Dublin City Council South Central Area

which to live.

Bruce Phillips - Dublin City Council South Central Area

 To establish The Liberties as a premier visitor

Christian Hayden - Thomas Street

destination in Dublin, along The Dubline Discovery Trail, through the development and promotion of attractions and activities.

Declan McGonagle - National College Art & Design Edel Flynn / Gerry Macken - The Digital Hub Development Agency Jack Roche - Meath Street

 To engage the local authority, An Garda

Nicholas Gore-Grimes - Francis Street

Siochána, health agencies and social services providers to address street safety issues in the area.

Richard Hamilton - Independent member Paul Carty / Catherine Keegan - Guinness Storehouse Liam Reid / Angela Smith - Diageo plc Brian Fitzgerald - St James’s Hospital



To contribute to the ongoing improvement of commercial and social life in The Liberties through practical measures and actions over an initial period of three years. -8-


What’s Been Achieved in 2014  The Liberties Business Forum established in March     

Key Challenges:  Developing an environment that

  

2014 comprising membership of 12. Meetings in Mar, May, Jul, Sep, Nov. A regular monthly e-newsletter to business established. Also provided regular events bulletins. Social media channels improved and regular content posted. Ongoing process of engagement with building owners and new business interests begun to encourage and support investment in the area. Enhanced Garda presence on Thomas Street provided in summer 2014. A process of further outreach to services and treatment facilities begun. Media engagement to promote The Liberties.

2015 Actions  Develop a 'Liberties Dublin ' website and enhance

the existing social media channels. Create a project brand and improve its recognition in the area. Develop a marketing plan and promotional material for The Liberties. Develop the Bring Your Business to the Liberties approach. Continue to build relationships with building owners/agents to reduce vacancies and attract new businesses to the area. Continue to develop a partnership with relevant agencies to address 'street atmosphere' and address anti-social behaviour. Hold a Property & Business Showcase Event. With stakeholders hold further ‘open days’ of business campuses etc in the area. Support a greater profile for the NCAD Graduate Shows. Consider ways to involve the community and explore the potential for a (virtual or physical) ‘Ideas Hub’.

is conducive and supportive of  business Challenging negative  perceptions of The Liberties and raising the profile of the area with the wider city  Improving sentiment among businesses in the area  Developing a source of news  and information about the area Building the relationship  between small businesses, the community and key stakeholders and services providers in the area Encouraging people to come to What Else Can Happen The Liberties

 Develop web and media content and promotional


 Promote and develop area events and maintain an

events calendar.

 Engage with tourism and hotel interests to develop

tourism accommodation in the area.

 Undertake a public consultation on the attitudes to

the area.

 Undertake research on footfall and consumer trends

in the area.  Host smaller scale business events that target and attract key sectors to the area. -9-

CULTURAL LIFE, TOURISM & A DESIGN DISTRICT Key Challenges:  Positioning The Liberties as one

of Dublin’s ‘must-see’ areas  Expanding the range of things to do in the area and encouraging visitors to explore The Liberties  Ensuring that the 600k+ footfall to Guinness Storehouse benefits Thomas Street and the wider area  Developing a greater outreach for NCAD and creatives in the area to generate new business activity

What’s Been Achieved in 2014  A number of tourism/visitor events were undertaken

in 2014 including Street Ambassadors Programme (Jun – Aug), Heritage Week, Culture Night, Craft Food and Drink Event, Open House.  Two tourism trails identified and a range of localbased walks undertaken in the year.  Summer events listing maintained as part of Street Ambassador Programme (Jun – Aug). Social Media used to promote events in the area.

2015 Actions  Develop a tourism strategy for The Liberties that is

 

     

focused on improved connections between key attractions in the area; support for new attractions; and improved visitor information. Support the Liberties Festival. Encourage businesses to participate in and support the festival. Participate in citywide cultural events and activities including Tradfest, St Patricks Day, [May], Heritage Week, Culture Night, Open House. Improve DCC Events coverage of this area. Promote The Liberties participation Irish Design 2015 through complementary events, area branding and the development of a Design Trail. Support local legacy projects. Develop a print and online download visitor map for The Liberties. Provide a programme of 'local-based' historic walks of the area. Develop a plan for festive lighting on Thomas Street and improved Christmas events. Develop and maintain an Events Calendar on the new website. Explore the potential for a pop-up summer Tourism Hub with exhibition. Run Liberties 'Welcome Team' programme June to August in partnership with Volunteer Ireland

What Else Can Happen  Develop a quality visitor centre in The Liberties  Promote and develop area events and maintain an

events calendar.

 Engage with tourism and hotel interests to develop

tourism accommodation in the area.

 Improve the branding and promotion of Francis

Street and Meath Streets as distinctive shopping areas

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What’s Been Achieved in 2014  Ongoing improvement of shopfronts and buildings on

    

Key Challenges:  Thomas Street is the primary

 

street of the area but requires investment in buildings along the route and public realm There is a significant degree of dereliction and vacancy on the street Businesses have concerns around coordination of services on the street There is a need for new business ideas for the street There is a limited evening economy on the street and current venues and pubs are struggling. There are limited options to eat in the area after 7pm

Thomas Street with a range of owners encouraged to upgrade. Increased number of planning applications on the street in 2014. Locations for new planters identified with delivery of first 12 in January 2015. A number of smaller green projects developed. Winter tiered planters provided. Significant level of work to add value to the Thomas Street Enhancement Programme (QBC works). Attention to three key projects on Thomas Street Chadwicks, Cornmarket & Thomas Court. A Shopfront Improvement Scheme devised for implementation in spring 2015 No progress on floodlighting issue. Consideration as part of a Dubline funded project.

2015 Actions  Implement the Thomas Street Greening Plan.  Undertake outstanding pavement and public lighting

works on Thomas Street.

 Support 3 no. high profile projects to improve 

    

streetscape - Cornmarket House refurbishment, Chadwick’s Arch and shop, 1-3 Thomas Court. Implement the shopfront improvement scheme on Thomas Street. Monitor the take up and make recommendations for expansion of the scheme in 2016. Seek floodlighting for the two Churches. Explore ways to improve floodlighting and switch to energy efficient models in area. Seek improvement measures to side streets and lanes off Thomas Street. Commission a public art piece for Thomas Street through the City Arts Office. Work with DCC WMS to provide performance data on street cleanliness on Thomas Street. Seek improvement of the vacant NCAD frontage and John’s Lane entrance

What Else Can Happen  Draw new businesses to the street  Engage with the BRT design process to gain further

improvements to the street

 Provide a second tranche of shopfront improvement

incentives  Enhance greening measures and encourage business participation through seasonal planting

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THOMAS STREET: PROMOTING NEW BUSINESS Key Challenges:  Developing an environment that

is conducive and supportive of business  Challenging negative perceptions of Thomas Street and raising the profile of the street with the wider city  Attracting new uses to the area and filling vacant shops and sites  Increasing the number of restaurants on the street and creating a more vibrant evening economy

What’s Been Achieved in 2014  Some progress to address unit vacancy on Thomas

Street, however some new businesses did establish in the year, a larger number of vacant units arise in 2015.  Significant public realm improvements made in 2014 including QBC works and decluttering of the street.  Discussion with NCAD on potential for a design shop in the area.  Street ambassador programme ran for 11 weeks from Jun to Aug and engaged 40 volunteers and met over 5,000+ visitors.

2015 Actions  Advertise and highlight new business opportunities

on Thomas Street. Encourage investment in existing businesses. Establish a match business to premises service.  Explore with NCAD the potential to develop a craft fare or pop-up design shop as part of Graduate Week 2015. Assist with greater promotion of Graduate Week.  Explore the issues around a grant scheme/rates rebate for new businesses such as restaurants.

What Else Can Happen  Further development/ reuse of Digital Hub sites will     

lead to new jobs and companies in the area Potential to develop the vacant NCAD site and improve the streetscape Dublin City Council to begin process to develop a new Bridgefoot Street Park. New student accommodation centre to begin development of former Frawleys terrace Potential to improve the presentation of market stalls on Thomas Street. Potential to deliver a 30km speed limit on Thomas Street and for surrounding streets to enhance the pedestrian environment.

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JAMES STREET: A CLEAN & INVITING STREET Key Challenges:  Developing an environment that

is conducive and supportive of business  Creating lively frontages along James Street  Improving sentiment among business and local residents in the area  High level of vacancy on James Street - attracting new uses to the area and filling vacant shops and sites

What’s Been Achieved in 2014  New district residents group was established in 2014

and the programme would welcome engagement in 2015.  New whiskey distillery and visitor centre proposed for former St James Church, including the restoration of the graveyard  New Camino Centre proposed for St James Church  Engaged with Diageo regarding ‘good housekeeping’ of James Street estate. Diageo to tender on works for spring 2015. Seeking additional improvements to site on Echlin Street, Grand Canal Place.

2015 Actions  Support local businesses and residents at Fountain

area to reduce vacancy and improve streetscape.

 Seek public realm improvements at the Fountain and      

to Bow Lane West as part of Dubline. Spotlighting of the Fountain. Clean and repair of street furniture. Support the Alltech whiskey distillery investment at St James's Church. Programme to improve the presentation of James Street including Diageo properties and support new uses in vacant buildings. NCAD to take lease of Rupert Guinness Theatre Encourage improved signage, lighting and presentation of Guinness Storehouse and enhanced wayfinding. Work to resolve Grand Canal Harbour site (NAMA) and reduce unsightliness and dereliction on Echlin Street. New Dubline investment in signage and route quality.

What Else Can Happen  Reuse and redevelopment of vacant Diageo


 St James Distillery & Visitor Centre to open in March


 Reopening to public access of historic graveyard.  Supporting the St James Hospital campus

development proposals and NCH, and improving integration with Thomas Street and Liberties.

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What’s Been Achieved in 2014  Street upgrade works: Street lamps repainted. Work    

to clean up small area beside Garden View and adjoining ESB site. Graffiti removal undertaken. Re-landscaping of St Nicholas Place. Draft proposals for Francis Street public realm prepared. Initial workshops with businesses and residents held in July 2014. Engagement with a number of vacant and derelict site owners. New shop in 37 Francis Street. Galleries and businesses participated in Culture Night. Craft Food and Drink Fair in Newmarket.

2015 Actions Key Challenges:

 Advance the Francis Street public realm

 Developing an environment that

 Work with Francis Street businesses to improve the

 


street profile and promote the area.

is conducive and supportive of  Target vacant units and work to match potential tenants. business  Hold a summer Street Festival with possible ID2015 Promoting the Art & Antiques input/theme. Quarter  Seek improvement of the former Barley Mow and Drawing greater footfall to adjoining premises.  Seek improvements to public realm along Hanover Francis Street from Thomas Lane and connections to Patrick Street. Improve way Street finding signage. Addressing a number of vacant  Develop a pocket park adjoining Garden View Court. sites on the street, most Seek improvement of the ESB substation site. particularly the former Iveagh Market Improving the poor quality of the What Else Can Happen public realm  Enhancing the connection to Newmarket and     

improving the public environment on Dean Street and The Coombe. Improving the connection to St Patrick’s Park via Hannover Lane. Improving the branding and promotion of the Art & Antiques Quarter. Improve and upgrade the street’s website and promotional material. Greening projects on the streets connecting Francis Street and Meath Street. Developing derelict and vacant sites on Francis Street Improve cycle parking facilities

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What’s Been Achieved in 2014  Some street upgrade works undertaken and street

lamps repainted.

 Proposal to designate Meath Street a market street

raised in 2014, some initial discussion with businesses.

2015 Actions Key Challenges:

 Continue to seek engagement with and support local

 Developing an environment that

 Consider ways to improve profile of Meath Street

 

 


Market. Provide new wayfinder signage to Meath

is conducive and supportive of Street. Consider banners to streetlamps and promotional measures. small and informal business Promoting market life on Meath  Provide for additional pavement repairs.  Seek improvement of the Coombe Memorial Street including new planting & weed removal and repair Drawing greater footfall to floodlighting. Meath Street from Thomas Street Addressing the quality of shopfronts on the street Improving the poor quality of the public realm, stalls and on-street What Else Can Happen trading  New Bullring development will significant enhance

the street.

 Potential to develop a number of Living City projects

on Meath Street.

 Potential to apply a shopfront improvement incentive

to Meath Street.

 Explore potential to floodlight St Catherine's Church

and improve visitor signage in its vicinity.

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What’s Been Achieved in 2014  New Teeling Whiskey Distillery begins development.

To open in summer 2015

 The Green Door Market opens  Continued Dublin Fleas and markets on the square  Craft Food and Drink Fair held on Culture Night

2015 Actions Key Challenges:

 Seek a representative from the area for the Liberties

 Transitioning the area from light

 Undertake a public realm audit of the area,

 

Business Forum

particularly visitor flows into Newmarket, with target

industrial and vacant spaces to projects for summer 2015.  Street lamp repainting, new bins and improved street new uses such as housing, cleansing quality retail and market spaces  Support a second craft Food and Drink Fair and small businesses  Support the newly developing whiskey distilleries/ Cork Street represent a traffic visitor centres barrier, separating the area from  Seek improved presentation of St Luke’s Church site  Seek new visitor signage and wayfinding. The Liberties Poor quality public realm St Luke’s Church is a significant historic asset but is derelict and What Else Can Happen inaccessible  Newmarket public realm improvement plan. Markets represent a key attraction of the area and should  New Chamber Street ‘Weaver Park’ to be developed in spring 2016. be protected and maintained  St Luke’s Church Conservation Plan and area landscaping.

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The Liberties Dublin

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