Thursday 20 September 2018

Irish Life fears Hibernia Reit's office plan too close for comfort

Irish Life has voiced concerns that Hibernia Reit’s plan to extend Marine House, far left, could encroach on the Velasco Building, Google’s newest home in the capital, which it owns
Irish Life has voiced concerns that Hibernia Reit’s plan to extend Marine House, far left, could encroach on the Velasco Building, Google’s newest home in the capital, which it owns

Ronald Quinlan, Commercial Property Editor

Hibernia Reit's bid to extend the footprint of Marine House on Clanwilliam Place appears to have upset its nearest neighbours on Grand Canal Street.

A perusal of the latest cases before An Bord Pleanala shows that Irish Life - the owners of Google's newest home at the Velasco - have appealed a number of aspects of Hibernia's plan to add 11,367 sq ft of space to the 1970s building.

While "generally supportive" of the proposal to increase the size of Marine House from its current 41,000 sq ft to 52,056 sq ft, planning consultants representing Irish Life Investment Managers have expressed concerns that the property will overlook the Velasco's roof terrace following the addition of a sixth floor and balcony.

Irish Life has also sought clarification of Hibernia Reit's proposal to increase the size of the building's first floor area, expressing concern that the distance between Marine House and the Velasco would be reduced to just over two metres (6.5 ft).

Causing further concern is the fact that the proposed additional first floor office space would have windows looking into the Velasco.

Commenting on the issue of the 'separation distance' between Marine House and the Velasco, Irish Life's planning consultants state: "Marine House already appears to be built up to the existing site boundary with Velasco's site boundary.

"Irish Life is keen that the proposed development does not over-sail or encroach on Velasco, and respectfully requests that, as the drawings indicate that proposed development will be located closer to Velasco than the existing development at Marine House, the applicant [Hibernia Reit] confirms that it owns all the lands and/or has sufficient legal interest to make the application on all of the land upon which the proposed development is to be constructed."

Should An Bord Pleanala give its approval to Hibernia Reit's proposed extension of Marine House, the works would take place in conjunction with the company's plan to carry out a programme of internal and external refurbishment to bring the building up to date through the conversion of its existing own-door offices to open plan space.

Hibernia Reit acquired Marine House for €26.5m in March 2016.

The property, which is fully-let, delivered total annual rental income of €1.2m in the same year.

Sunday Independent

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