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Renards site is saved from wrecking ball

A FORMER celebrity hangout in line for demolition has been saved from the wrecking ball – for the moment at least.

Dublin City Council had given approval to knock down the Molesworth Building which contains the now-closed Renards nightclub.

But an appeal has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the plans.

Applicant IPUT Management Services Ltd is seeking to knock down the entire block in which the club is located.

The site is bounded by Molesworth Street, South Fredrick Street and Setanta Place on three sides and, on the east side, by the buildings Setanta House, Nos 15 and 16 Molesworth Street and the Freemason's Hall.

It is only a few yards from the entrance to Leinster House.

"The development will consist of the demolition of the existing buildings and their replacement with a new office building," the application says.

In its place would be built six-storey block above a double basement car park.

The entire site is about 0.7 acres in size, making it a prime city property in one of the most expensive zones in Dublin.


Dublin 4 resident Valerin O'Shea, who submitted the appeal, said the proposed development "fails to comply with many important provisions" of the city development plan.

"It is submitted that the proposed scheme fails to reinforce, strengthen or protect the civic design character and dignity of the area due primarily to the scale of the development proposed," Ms O'Shea said.

"The proposal exceeds the indicative plot ratio standards set out (in the development plan) and proposes a height which is likely to prove problematic at this very sensitive location."

In its heyday, Renards was the venue of choice for superstars like U2, Mick Jagger and Sting. Its predecessor at the same venue was The Pink Elephant, which opened in 1980.

Well-known entertainment entrepreneur Robbie Fox ran Renards for 17 years before it shut in 2009 as debts mounted.

It was revamped and reopened by businessman Ken Drumm, brother of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive David Drumm, the following year but shut down again.

Fox opened Lillie's Bordello, The Pink Elephant and Renards, earning him the nickname the 'king of clubs'.