Friday 23 March 2018

IDA wants more high rises for Silicon Docks

Google's Dublin headquarters at the former Montevetro Building in Grand Canal Dock
Google's Dublin headquarters at the former Montevetro Building in Grand Canal Dock

Peter Flanagan Commercial Property Editor

THE Dublin Docklands needs taller office blocks and fewer residential developments if it is to be suitable for major overseas employers, the IDA has claimed.

A filing made by the agency to Dublin County Council, and obtained by the Irish Independent, on the proposed development of the Grand Canal Docks area, which houses some of the biggest technology companies in the world, has called for several changes to the development plans as they stand.

The IDA made the submission after the council published a draft planning scheme for the docklands ahead of a fourth phase of redevelopment in the area, which has been designated a "strategic development zone" (SDZ).

There are still numerous areas, particularly on the northside, that are yet to be developed.

The council published its plans in August and invited submissions from interested parties as part of a public consultation. Among other ideas, the council plan calls for building on top of the proposed Spencer Dock Dart station and building on derelict CIE lands close to Sheriff Street.

Crucially, the council's plan calls for development between commercial and residential property to be split 50:50.

The IDA however rejects that claim, deeming it "well intentioned but fundamentally inflexible".

According to the development group, major firms now prefer a "campus" style office arrangement. That means super high capacity offices, which can be entirely self-contained.

Having too many residential buildings in the area will only stop companies from having a campus arrangement and may prevent them from investing in the area, claim the IDA.

"For each developer or landowner to be entirely dependent on what is happening around, or even within their own block, does not in our view provide the necessary certainty for these same people particularly since there is no right to appeal under the SDZ process," the agency writes.

"The application of a (50:50 commercial/residential) ratio should be sufficiently flexible to be able to have regard to the need for urban campus development favoured by foreign direct investors and the increased requirements for large floor footprints increased to 25,000sqm," they claim.

The IDA also want the proposed heights of the new buildings to be increased sharply.

In its submission it "notes the increases in heights provided for in a number of locations such as Point Square and Britain Quay but it remains our view that generally heights are on the low side overall".

The IDA is expected to play a key role in the development of the area, given that most of the major employers there are IDA client firms.

Irish Independent

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