Saturday 18 November 2017

An Taisce blocks seven-storey Harcourt Square plan by REIT

Harcourt Square
Harcourt Square

Gordon Deegan

An Taisce has thrown a question mark over Hibernia REIT's plans to redevelop its Harcourt Square site.

The organisation lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against a seven-storey block plan by Hibernia in the second phase of its masterplan for the site and amendments to the first phase.

The property investment company bought the site for €72m. Last year it secured planning for the €100m phase one of the seven storey development.

The company only got the green light after marriage counselling service Accord withdrew an appeal against the council decision to grant planning on October 6th.

On the same day, Hibernia exchanged contracts to purchase the Accord building at 39 Harcourt Street for €1.8m.

In the aftermath of the sale, Hibernian REIT stated that the Accord purchase would "improve our position for the future redevelopment of Harcourt Square".

On the plan's second phase, planning consultants for Hibernia say that the proposed high quality office development "will provide significant improvements to the public realm at this location".

However, in the appeal, An Taisce claims that "the proposed development does not protect the heritage of the city.

"Specifically, it does not protect the scale, setting and character of key Georgian street Harcourt Street."

The appeal also claims that the plan "would have a major adverse effect on this important and iconic street and would as such damage Dublin's tourism product".

A decision is due in June. A Hibernia REIT spokesman was unavailable.

Irish Independent

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