Wednesday 7 December 2016

Johnny Ronan gets green light for €200m six storey office block development in Dublin's Ballsbridge

Gordon Deegan

Published 18/05/2016 | 18:04

The €200m project at AIB Bankcentre will include the construction of two, six-storey office blocks. Four existing office blocks on the site will be demolished.
The €200m project at AIB Bankcentre will include the construction of two, six-storey office blocks. Four existing office blocks on the site will be demolished.

Developer Johnny Ronan has received the green light for his €200m six storey office block development at Ballsbridge in Dublin that will have the capacity to accommodate 2,200 workers.

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Dublin City Council gave the Ronan plan, located opposite the RDS on Merrion Rd, the go-ahead in spite of over 20 separate objections against the ambition proposal.

AIB and An Taisce are just two of those to have lodged objections along with local residents and due to the number of objections, it will come as no surprise if an appeal is lodged to An Bord Pleanala against the decision.

Illustrating the scale of the proposal, Dublin City Council has made permission conditional on Ronan’s firm, RGRE Ballsbridge Development Ltd paying €2.9m in development contributions.

The plan - codenamed Project Pegasus - will be 52,247 sq m. - more than five times the 9,789 sq m in gross floor area of the existing four office blocks that are going to be demolished.

The City Council gave the plan the go-ahead after the planner in the case concluded that it complies with the City Development in terms of promoting and facilitating commercial office space by allowing for a high quality redevelopment of obsolete office stock in this location.

The planner also stated that the proposal is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on the amenities of residential properties in the vicinity in terms of over-bearance impact and overshadowing and is unlikely to give rise to a traffic hazard.

AIB objected on a number of grounds including traffic safety implications; impact on the public realm; flood risk implications and construction management and impacts.

An Taisce claimed that the intensity of office use of the site would be excessive; the proposed development would be over-scaled and would seriously detract from the residential amenities of the area.

Last year, Mr Ronan acquired the four vacant office blocks and surrounding land in front of AIB’s Bankcentre building, opposite the RDS grounds, on Merrion Road, for €67.5m.

The Bankcentre purchase was Ronan's third major development since exiting Nama last year.

The near four-acre site was sold by a receiver on behalf of Nama and Ulster Bank. It had been acquired in 2006 by Carlow property developer, Sean Dunne for a reported €200m.

A 2009 ‘Mountbrook’ planning application for the site made up of six office blocks ranging from seven to nine storeys was refused by An Bord Pleanala in 2011 after facing widespread opposition from local resident groups.

The granting of the 'Pegasus' plans comes against the background of a continuing acute shortage of prime office space in Dublin that is continuing drive rents up.

Last year, HWBC’s office market review stated that the shortage will continue to drive rents up to the end of 2017, while property investment firm, Green REIT has stated that there is a risk that there will be an over-supply in the office market from 2018.

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