Kerry County Council says a cost estimate by the LDA on the refurbishment of St Finan’s for housing confirms its previous estimates for the project.
The cost estimate for the repurposing of the HSE-owned site for social housing, was shared with Kerry County Council this week by the Land Development Agency.
It follows a meeting between the LDA and senior council officials in May this year about the site of the former mental health hospital, which closed over a decade ago.
There have been calls in the intervening years to convert the derelict former hospital into housing, but the council previously estimated the cost of refurbishment at €100 million, which it says is beyond its scope.
Records released to Radio Kerry under FOI show that a meeting, described as informal, took place in May of this year between council representatives and the Land Development Agency.
The purpose of the meeting was to begin the process of exploring whether the LDA could consider St Finan’s a large-scale project under its remit.
In attendance was the council CEO Moira Murrell, Director of Housing Martin O’Donoghue, and the LDA’s Head of Property Phelim O’Neill.
It was outlined during that meeting that the site is in the ownership of the HSE, and neither the council or the LDA is formally in possession of it, nor in a position to advance any project without formal agreement from all parties.
Mr O'Neill said there’s a need for full rewiring, plumbing and window replacement, which could not be done in phases or stages.
From that meeting, the LDA was to prepare a cost estimate of a potential housing project at St Finan’s, to assess the scale of such a project and potential ways to advance it.
That initial cost estimate of the repurposing of St Finan’s for housing, which the LDA describes as high-level, has now been received by the council.
The council says while it is commercially sensitive, in broad terms it confirms previous estimates in respect of the scale of cost associated with the building refurbishment.
The council reiterated the statutory requirement that no other body can be offered or request an interest in the property until the LDA has considered it for its own functions and duties.
It says this location and future use of the lands is a matter for the HSE.
Separately, the HSE earlier this year commissioned Tailte Éireann, the national valuation office, to complete a valuation report on the site for the potential sale of the site for social housing.