First Social Housing Scheme Funded with Private Borrowing from AIB

Respond celebrated the launch of St. Johns College project at the end of December 2013. RTE News update of Project Launch can be viewed: here

Pictured turning the sod is Mr. Morgan Doyle Regional Development Officer AIB, Fr. Patrick Cogan Respond CEO and Waterford City Mayor John Cummins.

‘I am pleased to announce that work will begin on site after Christmas on Respond’s redevelopment of St. John’s College, marking the end of our seven year marathon preparation,’ so said Fr. Patrick Cogan, a Franciscan based in Waterford and CEO of Respond.

The total project costs will come to just €12 million.  Some €8million of this will be made available in state mortgages to Respond from Waterford City Council through the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.’ Fr. Cogan continued, ‘The remaining €4million will be provided by Respond of which some €2.25million will come in a private borrowing initiative from the AIB Bank. This lending initiative by the AIB is the first of its kind for social housing in Ireland.’

‘We expect that about 100 workers will be employed during the course of the construction and that is great news for Waterford’, Fr. Cogan said.

Mythen Brothers are the successful tendering builders.

The College building itself will house 21 self-contained apartments for older persons with a supporting Day Centre. Respond is also constructing 36 new-build one-bed apartments on the site parallel to The Folly road, also for older persons.  Application is also being made to Waterford City Council for an extra 11 apartments to be provided within the existing building, subject to planning approval.

The College dates back to the 19th century and was a seminary up until its closure in 1999. It was bought by Respond from the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore in 2007. It is a listed building which status Respond has respected in its plans.  ‘The whole redevelopment will provide a fitting and resourced location for some 57 older persons,’ said Fr. Cogan, ‘and Respond will work very closely with the City Council to assess all applications from prospective residents as the construction comes to a finish towards the end of 2015’. (There are some 300 applicants currently on the local authority list.)

Fr. Cogan also acknowledged: the assistance of Waterford City Council, the Department, the AIB Business Banking Team in Waterford and all our consultants and design and project development staff who have assisted us in bringing the proposal to commencement.’   


AIB’s Head of South East Business Centre, Morgan Doyle, said:

AIB is delighted to provide funding to assist Respond ! in delivering a high quality project which in the short term will provide employment for 100 people in Waterford and in the long term will provide high quality housing and support for older citizens in Waterford city. Respond provides a vital community service and AIB is pleased to assist them in achieving their goals.’

The full borrowing facility offered to Respond by AIB is in the sum of €5.8 million for three social housing developments: the St. John’s College project, and Respond’s ‘ghost estates’ projects in Tullow and Kill (the total outlay on these three projects comes to €17.5 ml)