Friday 23 February 2018

Dunne nets planning hat-trick with bank site approval


THERE'S life in D4 yet. Sean Dunne has achieved something of a hat trick with the third strand of his plans for the redevelopment of Ballsbridge getting the green light from Dublin City Council.

Last Friday night, city planners gave their approval to the Carlow-born developer's proposals for the redevelopment of the AIB Bankcentre.

The Mountbrook chief acquired the landmark site opposite the RDS from AIB in 2006, in a €200m sale-and-leaseback deal.

Under the terms of the permission for its redevelopment, Mr Dunne has received approval to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a mixture of offices, retail and a crèche facility.

While the decision will be welcomed by Mr Dunne, the finer details of the permission show that the planners have insisted that the footprint of the Bankcentre redevelopment be pared back from 40,850 sq m to 38,000 sq m.

Not that that restriction will serve to smother the ambitions of the man who famously earned the title of 'Baron of Ballsbridge' for his stated determination to bring a piece of Knightsbridge to Dublin.

The favourable AIB Bankcentre decision comes hot on the heels of Dublin City Council's approval, two weeks ago, of Mr Dunne's plans for the redevelopment of the Jurys and Berkeley Court sites, which he acquired in 2005 for a combined €380m.

According to the terms of that permission, Mr Dunne has been given the go-ahead to build a 15-storey tower as well as a new 135-bedroom hotel, apartments, shops and a range of public services on the sites.

In the same week, An Bord Pleanala approved Mr Dunne's plans to demolish and redevelop the nearby Hume House, which he purchased in a 2005 €130m land-swap deal with Irish Life and Permanent.

The developer's ambitous plans for Hume House, the Jurys and Berkeley Court hotel sites and the AIB Bankcentre site have all been the subject of strenuous opposition from local residents.

A number of powerful individuals, including billionaire businessman Dermot Desmond, have thrown their considerable weight behind the campaign of resistance to Mr Dunne's plans.

Indeed, in his written observations on the original plans for the Jurys site to An Bord Pleanala, Mr Desmond variously referred to the proposed structures as being "fundamentally flawed and "clearly unacceptable".

Sunday Independent

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