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Saturday 18 November 2017

Health Department's notorious former HQ to be replaced by new €50m plaza

Hawkins House
Hawkins House
How the new plaza is projected to look
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

One of the most notorious office blocks in Dublin will finally be replaced with a €50m "plaza"-style development.

Hawkins House, along with another 1960s block, Apollo House, is to be knocked down under a planning application made by accountancy firm Mazars acting as receiver over Cuprum Properties.

Hawkins House in particular has long been known as one of the ugliest office buildings in central Dublin. The former headquarters of the Department of Health has shown its age for years and has been widely acknowledged to have badly needed replacing. The Department of Health is relocating to the former Bank of Ireland headquarters on Baggot Street, which have been refurbished into top-level condition.

The Office of Public Works has indicated it is more cost-effective to knock down and replace Hawkins and Apollo Houses. The planning application calls for the current buildings to be replaced by a new public plaza to open up the area, which has been notoriously short of natural light.

Planning chiefs hope the design will create a more pedestrian-friendly area and revive what they said was "an impenetrable block" on the edge of College Green.

However the creation of yet another "plaza" in the city centre may not be universally welcomed. The new development will have more office space than the old buildings, but in a market that is crying out for more office space, the decision to create an open area in the block will restrict the amount of office space available.

Outside working hours, open plazas have gained a reputation for anti-social behaviour at times. But many of the office blocks being built at present include the plaza feature.

Irish Independent

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