Irish Nationwide site plan by Hines and Yeungs is appealed
A PLAN by US property investment giant Hines and Hong Kong's wealthy Yeung family for a multi-million euro refurbishment of the former Irish Nationwide headquarters in Dublin and the construction of dramatic new office space on the site, has been appealed to the planning watchdog.
Appellants have previously argued that the "vast scale" of the plans for the site are "totally out of proportion and character with its surroundings of Victorian houses".
Dublin City Council approved the plans last month, but now An Bord Pleanala will assess the project, which would result in a dramatic new office space in the capital.
The existing office block on the site is more than 50 years old and is a protected structure.
The prime location, in the capital's business heartland at Grand Parade, is situated next to the Grand Canal.
The existing eight-storey, 39,200 sq ft office block sits on a 1.7 acre site. The remainder of the site includes old warehouses and almost 100 parking spaces.
Last year, a company controlled by Hines and the Yeung family applied for planning permission to refurbish the former Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) base, and to build what would be a landmark new office development ranging between three and six storeys in height.
The site was originally sold in early 2014, for about €15m, to London & Regional Properties, a UK investment fund. London & Regional is controlled by billionaire brothers Ian and Richard Livingstone.
The site had been put up for sale by the joint special liquidators of the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, formerly Anglo Irish Bank.
The Irish Bank Resolution Corporation was the building's tenant at the time of the sale.
It had been predicted at the time that a refurbishment of the HQ building would cost in the region of €5m.
London & Regional Properties sold the site in 2016 to Hines and the Yeung family, making a €22m profit.
The new owners then set about devising their refurbishment and redevelopment plans for the location.
The former INBS HQ is also known as the Carroll's Building. It was original constructed as the headquarters for the Irish tobacco group PJ Carroll.
It's anticipated that a café and gallery will be included in the re-development.
The council has sanctioned the plans, noting they are "in the interests of the proper planning and sustainable development of the area".
Last year, it emerged that the Yeung family was also one of the co-buyers of the former Central Bank premises in Dublin.
The Yeung's Peterson Group acquired the building on Dame Street, also in conjunction with Hines, for €100m. The Central Bank has moved to a new home in a building on North Wall Quay that was previously being built as the intended headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank.
The Yeungs ultimately own their stake in the former INBS building via a Hong Kong company called Chance Prosper Ltd.