Sunday 25 September 2016

An Taisce lodges objection to Green Reit's Dawson Street plan

Gordon Deegan

Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30

The 1970s building at the corner of Dublin’s Dawson Street and Molesworth Street would be demolished under the plan
The 1970s building at the corner of Dublin’s Dawson Street and Molesworth Street would be demolished under the plan

An Taisce has put the brakes on Green Reit plc's plans to demolish a landmark building and erect a six-storey office block on Dublin's Dawson Street.

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Last year, the property firm paid €23m for the office block at the junction of Dawson Street and Molesworth Street.

The complex previously served as the headquarters of the Royal and Sun Alliance.

Last month, Dublin City Council gave Green Reit the go-ahead for the demolition of the existing office block and erection of the new building in spite of An Taisce objections.

The property is part of Green Reit's €882m property portfolio comprising of 24 properties that produce a rent roll of €55.5m. Green Reit is seeking to demolish the 1970s five-storey building with a gross floor area of 5,010 sq metres and replace it with a six-storey building with floor space of 12,756 sq metres.

Consultants for Green Reit state that the existing building "is no longer aligned with a modern working environment".

They state that "the low floor to ceiling height, lack of raised access floor… has made the building undesirable for tenants and to be at the lower end of the office market in its current condition".

The consultants also state that "the development will ensure a more efficient, sustainable and appropriate use of strategically located city centre lands". Planning documents lodged with the City Council state that "in general, buildings that are older than 20 years of age are deemed to require considerable upgrading and are generally ignored in favour of more modern equivalents by occupiers and investors alike".

The submission adds: "This situation is becoming more acute with most investors and corporate occupiers now focused on sustainability issues and wanting to occupy and own the greenest and most energy efficient building."

Green Reit argue that the development "will ensure a more efficient, sustainable and appropriate use of strategically located city centre lands".

However, An Taisce has appealed the City Council decision to An Bord Pleanala.

In its submission, An Taisce says "there is no gain for the city in the planning application".

An Taisce claims that the plan proposes to demolish a functioning building on an architecturally sensitive historic inner city street and replace it with "an oversized, aggrandised and unnecessary 'statement' building".

The National Trust states that the proposal "does not repair a damaged corner of the city, or replace a poor quality of mediocre building from the period with a better one. It does not even replace the existing building with one which maintains the scale of the street".

An Taisce goes on to state: "The proposal in its architectural design and general approach - demolition of a usable building and excessively scaled replacement - is highly characteristically of the mid-2000s property boom.

"We have moved on from this period. This is reflected in a variety of provisions of the Dublin City Development Plan 2011-17 which seeks a more meaningful form of development."

Irish Independent

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