PROPERTY DEVELOPER Joe O’Reilly has secured planning approval for a major redevelopment of the Carlton Cinema site in central Dublin.
The permission, announced by An Bord Pleanála yesterday, covers a 2.7 hectare site encompassing most of a block of Upper O’Connell Street and fronting on to Henry Street, Moore Street, O’Rahilly Parade and Parnell Street.
Much of the landmark site has been derelict since 1979 with threats of litigation between Mr O’Reilly’s company Chartered Land, a group of individual site owners known as the Carlton Group, and the city council.
The area has considerable historic interest encompassing much of the escape route from the GPO taken by the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and their ultimate final headquarters in 16 Moore Street.
Numbers 14 to 17 Moore Street are now a national monument, and are to become the focal point of a new civic and cultural space.
In granting the permission, the board noted the site’s “cultural and historic”, as well as considerable architectural interest. It singled out protected structures on O’Connell Street and Moore Street, and the importance of the overall location at the centre of the capital city. To be called “Dublin Central”, the approved development site is to incorporate an east-west pedestrian access route taking the form of a “colonnade” leading from O’Connell Street through to Moore Street.
This will provide a new, linear pedestrian route starting at right angles to Upper O’Connell Street, passing through the new centre and continuing under a covered walkway across Moore Street and into the Moore Mall, plaza and central mall of the Ilac Centre.
The protected facade of the former Carlton cinema is to be relocated about 50 metres farther north of its current position.
Mr O’Reilly is a well known developer whose most notable project has been the Dundrum Town Centre in south Dublin.
He has already agreed a deal with major UK department store John Lewis to be one of the largest anchor stores in the development, which his company Chartered Land yesterday estimated would represent a total investment of €900 million and create 3,500 construction jobs and 4,500 permanent jobs.
Dominic Deeny, chief executive of Chartered Land, said the decision “means we will be able to deliver a major retail-led 800,000 sq ft development for Dublin city centre that will complete the regeneration of O’Connell Street and reposition it as the nation’s premier retail street again”.
The primary elements of the scheme include 98 retail units, 69 residential units, 4,500 sq metres of restaurants and coffee houses and some 700 car parking spaces.