Thursday 29 June 2017

OPW plans seven-storey office block at historic Michael Collins site

Michael Collins lies in State in 1922 at Dublin’s City Hall following his assassination in Cork. His body was prepared for burial at Spruce House
Michael Collins lies in State in 1922 at Dublin’s City Hall following his assassination in Cork. His body was prepared for burial at Spruce House
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is to build a seven-storey office block that will connect to a historic Dublin building.

Spruce House, where Michael Collins was prepared for burial before lying in State in 1922 at Dublin's City Hall, was partly demolished by the OPW a number of years ago before Dublin City Council moved to list it as a protected property.

The OPW plans to refurbish Spruce House and an adjacent laneway, and add a connected seven-storey office block to the rear of the historic building, which was once the dispensary and mortuary at the old Vincent's Hospital at Leeson Lane.

There was uproar in 2007 when the OPW demolished a significant part of the structure, which is close to St Stephen's Green, ahead of a planned sale.

Four months later, Dublin City Council reportedly moved to list Spruce House as a protected building, but it is not currently listed as such.

In its planning application, the OPW also points out that the building is not protected but does contain features of architectural merit.

The OPW has applied to the council for permission for a range of major works at the site.

It also stated in its submission to the council that the State body is "conscious of its heritage, environmental and conservation responsibilities".

It will refurbish and restore the existing Spruce House, and reinstate Leeson Place, which it has described as a historic laneway.

The new office block which will be constructed to the rear of Spruce House and which will be connected to it at the ground and first-floor levels, will extend over 7,075 sq m (76,154 sq ft).

The OPW made its original application for the development late last year, but has just provided additional information to the council on its proposals.

A local residents' association has already objected to the planned development, arguing that the seven-storey office block is too high.

The association pointed out that in 2009 there were plans submitted to the council to build an eight-storey hotel on the site.

The council said at the time that no more than six-storeys would be considered appropriate for a development at the location.

Irish Independent

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