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Sunday 18 March 2018

€50m plan objection delays work on Hawkins and Apollo

Hawkins House in Dublin Picture: Colin O'Riordan
Hawkins House in Dublin Picture: Colin O'Riordan
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A planned €50m redevelopment of Hawkins House and Apollo House in Dublin could be significantly delayed if an objection to the scheme by developer Greg Kavanagh is upheld by An Bord Pleanála.

In December, Dublin City Council indicated it was ready to grant permission to the Office of Public Works for the demolition of Hawkins House, a renowned eyesore that's home to the Department of Health.

The council also gave the go-ahead to Nama-appointed receivers in December for the demolition of the adjacent Apollo House under a separate planning application, allowing for a combined development of a new office quarter. The planned redevelopment would see the construction of a 10-storey office complex to replace the existing Hawkins House.

While the State owns Hawkins House, Apollo House and the Long Stone are controlled by receivers to a company owned by developer Garrett Kelleher.

The disused Apollo House was the centre of media attention before Christmas when it was occupied by housing activists and homeless people.

But a company controlled by Mr Kavanagh and Pat Crean, Balark Investments, has now objected to An Bord Pleanála.

The Wicklow-based pair also own College House and the recently closed Screen Cinema site, both abutting Hawkins House.

"The application submitted for development was made in the absence of any meaningful engagement with our client and an agreed masterplan for the entire HSS (Hawkins House Site)," town planners have told An Bord Pleanála on behalf of Mr Kavanagh's firm.

They said Mr Kavanagh's firm supports "the principle" of redevelopment, but wants the council's decision overturned.

Meanwhile, High Court proceedings brought over the occupation of Apollo House formally ended yesterday.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan was informed that all the remaining items of property, including furniture and beds, have now been removed from the building.

Irish Independent

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