Friday 16 May 2008

Council says yes to office scheme in Digital Hub

MANOR PARK Homebuilders has been granted planning permission by Dublin City Council for nearly 8,000sq m (86,111sq ft) of digital media office space on its 2.5-acre Digital Hub site on Thomas Street, Dublin 8.

Last October the developer was refused permission by An Bord Pleanála for an office and residential development dubbed "Mini-Manhattan" because it proposed Ireland's tallest building of 53 storeys.

The tallest building in the current permission is eight storeys and there will also be seven retail units, a bar and three duplex apartments.

Part of the development involves a change of use of 1 Crane Street and 7 and 8 Thomas Street West, all protected structures, from financial services to retail use at ground floor level and residential use at first and second floor level.

The proposal for the four-storey Vat House Number 7 is to add another three storeys to the building to turn it into an office block with eight shops and a bar, and for the refurbishment of the overhead walkway link to the Hopstore on Rainsfort Street. Cavan-based developer P Elliott Co, which owns the adjoining site, submitted a proposal for its 3.2-acre Windmill site, also concentrating on the digital media office element of the site.

It has submitted a planning application for just 8,713sq m (93,786sq ft) of development, mostly comprising of digital media space, in two blocks on around a quarter of the site. Last October An Bord Pleanála rejected P Elliot Co's proposal for a 45,000sq m (484,375sq ft) mixed-use development with a 16-storey residential tower, overturning planning permission granted by Dublin City Council for the scheme.

The company says a further planning application for the site will be submitted next month, which may include a residential element.

The most recent planning applications by both developers are an attempt to expedite planning permission for office space - key to the success of the Digital Hub where the Digital Hub Environmental Agency wants to keep companies geographically close but there is currently little space available for companies looking to expand. Both developers had a deadline of June to get planning permission with an extension to February 2009 if they are subsequently referred to An Bord Pleanála.

Both sites sold for €118 million but the State accepted part payment in the form of office buildings and this reduced the cash payment concerned to around €72 million.

Irish Times

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