Friday 9 December 2016

Ronan gets council nod for €200m AIB office project

Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30

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 been given the go-ahead for a huge €200m office block development at AIB Bankcentre in Dublin's Ballsbridge.

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It's the latest coup for the high-profile developer, who has bounced back from the recession with a number of projects in the capital. He exited Nama in 2015.

Mr Ronan paid €67.5m in 2015 to buy a 1.5 hectare site that includes four empty office blocks and land in front of AIB Bankcentre, which is opposite the RDS.

The site had been bought in 2006 by Sean Dunne for a rumoured €200m.

Mr Ronan's project will include the demolition of the existing vacant office blocks on the site, and the construction of two, six-storey buildings over three levels of basement.

They'll each incorporate office accommodation at upper basement level, parking and ancillary facilities at lower basement level, and a sub-basement area to house a gym. There will also be cafe, restaurant and retail units, and basement parking for 164 cars.

The total gross floor area will be 52,247 sq m, and 2,200 workers could be accommodated between the two blocks.

Dublin City Council has told Mr Ronan's RGRE Ballsbridge Developments that it must make a €3m contribution to towards infrastructure costs that will be incurred by the planning authority.

There were 20 objectors to the scheme, including State-owned AIB, and An Taisce.

An Taisce claimed the scale, bulk and height of the new office blocks would be visually obstrusive and have a negative impact on the RDS. It added that the intensity of office use on the site would be excessive and seriously detract from the residential amenities of the area.

A report submitted to the council by consultants for RGRE Ballsbridge Developments, said the existing buildings on the site have been vacant for at least eight years, and do not meet the expectations of modern tenants seeking quality office accommodation.

The council has indicated it will grant permission, despite objections.

"Overall it is considered that the proposed development would comply with Policy RE 22 of the City Development Plan in terms of promoting and facilitating commercial office space by allowing for a high quality redevelopment of obsolete office stock in this location," the planning department noted.

It added: "The proposal is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on the amenities of residential properties in the vicinity."

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