Saturday 13 June 2009

Tower excluded from Ballsbridge planning approval

PLANNING PERMISSION for the redevelopment of the former veterinary college in Ballsbridge has been granted by Bord Pleanála.

The permission for a mixed-use scheme involving apartments, shops and offices excludes a 15-storey tower which had been sought by developer Ray Grehan’s Kintene Limited.

However, Mr Grehan, who paid €171.5 million for the 2.2 acre site in November 2005, yesterday expressed delight with the permission, which he said “consolidates the value of the site”. He told The Irish Times it would be “two to three years” before economic conditions are favourable for construction to begin on the landmark project which he has called Number One Ballsbridge.

Permission for the development includes 170,000sq ft of office accommodation, 86 luxury apartments and associated retail and restaurant space with buildings ranging from seven to 11 storeys in height. The tallest building is a residential tower of 10 storeys that includes permission for an “event space”, at the 11th floor level.

The new buildings will be centred around two new plazas, provisionally called New Shelbourne Plaza, and New Pembroke Square. These squares will be linked by a new street which provides a walkway through the development from Pembroke Road to Shelbourne Road. It is a condition of the board’s decision that this route be accessible to the public.

The base of the 11-storey tower is to serve as the principal entrance into the residential element with a residents’ concierge and internal gardens overlooking the New Pembroke Square.

The apartments will be on the upper levels of the development. The office spaces are to be stacked beneath, while the ground level will be given to retail, leisure and cultural spaces. There are to be up to four basement levels.

As well as the condition that the new street remain permanently open to the public, Bord Pleanála imposed a further 19 conditions.

These relate to measures to minimise unpleasant wind conditions caused by high buildings; the provision of social and affordable housing; development levies of about €4 million; landscaping; building finishes; and an archaeological assessment of the site which must be submitted to Dublin City Council before work begins. Other conditions cover parking, pedestrian mobility and drainage.

In setting the building heights between seven and 11 storeys Bord Pleanála has taken the adjacent nine-storey Hume House as a broad marker. This decision may have implications for the ambitions of Seán Dunne, whose plan for a 132-metre skyscraper on the Jury’s Hotel and Berkeley Court site next door was turned down by the board.

Irish Times

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