DUBLIN City council has signed off on the construction of huge office and apartment blocks in the docklands, in a deal worth an estimated €450m.
The council has given planning permission for a development of 18,000 sq m of office space and 100 apartments at 5 Hanover Quay. The move comes a month after the council approved plans for 9,300 sq m office and 58 apartments on a neighbouring site at 76 Sir John Rogerson's Quay.
Together both properties will be known as the 'Reveal Developments'. The development will cost about €140m and will be worth an estimated €450m once complete.
The developments are being run by a company called Targeted Investment Opportunities (TIO). That vehicle is a joint venture of Mullingar-based construction firm Bennett Group, Nama, and US investment giant Oaktree.
Savills and DTZ Sherry FitzGerald are the letting agents for the property.
Crucially, the development comes within the council's Strategic Development Zone for the area, so the planning decision cannot be appealed.
Construction is expected to begin by the end of this year, with first phases likely to be completed in 2017.
Oaktree managing director Justin Bickle said his firm was "delighted with the decision by DCC to grant planning approval for TIO at 5-6 Hanover Quay and 76 Sir John Rogerson's Quay in the Silicon Docks.
"The purpose of designating the area an SDZ was to facilitate fast track planning applications for much-needed commercial and residential development - this proves that the system is working well in practice. We now look forward to bringing these plans to life and ensuring the area remains a thriving hub for foreign direct investment."
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh said the decision was "an important step in delivering a project that will bring much-needed quality office space and residential accommodation to the Docklands and deliver a commercial return for the taxpayer."
He added: "It highlights the benefit of the SDZ designation and faster planning process in delivering high-quality projects quickly."
Roland O'Connell of Savills and Ronan Corbett of DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald, said they had already received "numerous enquiries from both local and international office occupiers actively looking to establish or expand their presence in Dublin". Nearby Boland's Mills has been earmarked for 36,759 sq m (395,000 sq ft) of office, residential, and retail space including cafes, restaurants and "cultural space".
Most of the development will be for office space, but it will also include 42 two- and three-bedroom apartments.
The planning application envisages the creation of a new urban quarter with new streets and open spaces, including a large public square, opening on to Grand Canal Dock.
LA-based Kennedy Wilson meanwhile is planning to build 313,000 sq ft of office space and 204 apartments at the 'Capital Docks' site on John Rogerson's Quay, close to the East Link Bridge and opposite the 3 Arena.
The planned development will go some way to easing the shortage of office space the city centre..