IARNROD Eireann is to press ahead with plans to develop high-rise buildings at Connolly and Tara Street stations in Dublin, despite the economic downturn.
The company is to seek planning permission for buildings over 60 metres tall later this year, and in 2009, after Dublin City Council indicated that both sites were suitable for high-rise development.
Last week, An Bord Pleanala ruled that plans to redevelop Tara Street station, one of the country's busiest transport centres, were classed as strategic infrastructure, which meant they could be fast-tracked through the planning process.
Now the company plans to invest €125m building a 14-storey office tower above the tracks on the 0.3-acre site.
It is also developing a masterplan for Connolly Station which will see the air rights -- or the empty space above the tracks -- developed as offices and new homes. "It is our intention to lodge a planning application for Tara Street before the end of this year," a company spokesman said yesterday. "We're finalising the overall plan for Connolly, and we would intend to apply (for permission) next year."
Major increases in customer numbers have seen throughput in Tara Street grow to 10 million passengers a year, and further growth is expected as Transport 21 projects -- including the underground DART tunnel -- come on stream.
The Tara Street plan is being updated to take account of the growth in passenger numbers, and Iarnrod Eireann has already been granted permission for a 60.8-metre, 14-storey office tower above the station.
The permission included approval for a new 12-metre-high, €20m station concourse with 13,000 square metres of office accommodation above.
The main focus of the new design will be to provide an improved concourse area that will cater for up to 14,500 passengers per hour at peak times.
In addition, it is hoped that the revised design will provide for a similar area of office accommodation above in a landmark tower feature.