Saturday 23 February 2008

Sky's the limit in D4

TIMING is everything and, for Ray Grehan, Seán Dunne, Jerry O'Reilly, and David Courtney, this is especially true in Ballsbridge, where there are billions at stake for the wealthy property developers.

Last month, Dublin City Council unveiled its plan for the future of Dublin, entitled Maximising the City's Potential: A Strategy for Intensification and Height, in which various areas in the capital have been earmarked for high rise development. Bizarrely, considering the type of development plans currently being processed for Ballsbridge, the D4 area was not included for any high-rise designation.

Thus, if the Council's plan - which is on display until March 7 - is indeed adopted, Ballsbridge should be free of any high-rise.

However, happily for Ray Grehan, his application for a 15-storey building on the site of the former vet college on Shelbourne Road was dealt with this week under the current Dublin Development Plan, with Council planners greenlighting the Grehan tower (‘Number One Ballsbridge'). The story is the same for the Dunner's €1bn plan to "bring Knightsbridge to Ballsbridge", complete with 37-storey signature tower. He must be delighted to see Grehan getting the all-clear, given that it is more than likely that both schemes will be developed in tandem. Grehan paid out €171m for his 2.2-acre site, which works out at €57m an acre, while just down the road, Jerry O'Reilly and David Courtney broke all records when they lashed out €95m an acre for the six-storey Faculty Building, which sits on just half an acre. This has already been the subject of a rejected planning application and the boys will need to move fast if they are to get a new plan approved ahead of the adoption of the new high-rise plan for the city.


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